Nurses plan one-day strike

NURSES PICKET HOSPITAL
On Saturday, the nurses organized another informational picket in front of Northside Medical Center.

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Nurses at Northside Medical Center plan to take part in a one-day unfair labor practice strike.

Both sides met with a federal mediator for more than four hours on Wednesday. Representatives from the General Duty Nurses Association claim there was some progress made in bargaining, but there still is no agreement.

They are planning a one-day strike on Sept. 24.

The sticking points remain staffing levels, wages and providing quality patient care. About 430 nurses have been working without a contract since July 2012.

Last month, 90 percent of the nurses said no to the hospital’s final offer.

“No one wants to go on strike, but we will take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the high standard of care for which Northside is known,” said Eric Williams, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association. “For the last 15 months, the hospital’s corporate owner, the Nashville-based, for-profit Community Health Systems, refused to even discuss issues that affect the Youngstown community. Our talks this week advanced the discussion, but they must move beyond their take-it-or-leave it approach.”

Officials from Community Health Systems, which owns the hospital, said they were notified of the strike and will make preparations for that day.

“We will be prepared to maintain all hospital services and our commitment to safe, high-quality patient care will continue without interruption,” hospital spokesperson Trish Hrina said in an emailed statement. “The conduct of a strike and picketing will not alter the hospital’s position at the bargaining table. Our final offer to the O.N.A. mirrors the wage increases, comprehensive benefits and low volume staffing terms overwhelmingly approved by five other ValleyCare bargaining units, including another unit represented by the O.N.A.”

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