Northside Nurses Overwhelmingly Authorize Another Strike

Oct 03, 2013, 12:58 ET from Ohio Nurses Association

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eight days after their successful one-day, unfair labor practice strike, nurses at Northside Medical Center have voted overwhelmingly to authorize another work stoppage.

Members of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association who voted Wednesday approved authorizing a strike by a near unanimous margin. The vote does not mean the nurses will strike, only that members are giving their bargaining team authority to issue a strike notice.

"This is a powerful statement by our members," said YGDNA President Eric Williams. "We have said from the beginning that no one wants to strike, but we will do whatever it takes to stand up for our patients and for quality care at Northside. We will not be bullied, and the Youngstown community will not be bullied."

After the one-day strike on Sept. 24, the for-profit corporate owner of the hospital, Community Health Systems Inc., continued to try to bully and intimidate nurses by locking them out when they tried to return to work to care for their patients. The tactics failed to intimidate the nurses, who together triumphantly returned to work Monday.

"The real issue at this point is that management will not get back to the bargaining table to even try to resolve the issues that separate us," said Kelly Trautner, deputy executive officer for the Ohio Nurses Association, the official bargaining agent for the Northside nurses.

"Our support from the community has been tremendous," Trautner added. "Almost every elected official in the region, as well as clergy and other community leaders, has urged CHS to sit down with us and reach a fair and equitable agreement."

Members of YGDNA have been working without a contract for 15 months. The nurses have been concerned about proposals from the Tennessee-based owner that could affect quality patient care. Those include a proposal to ration nurses by sending them home when patient admissions fluctuate, and a proposal that would undermine nurses' ability to speak out about patient safety and quality care issues.

SOURCE Ohio Nurses Association