YOUNGSTOWN Fill-in nurses report assault

Lawyers are looking into the rough treatment of those arrested, the nursing union president said.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Two replacement nurses who said they were assaulted as they drove to work past pickets at Forum Health Northside Medical Center took pictures of the event, as did hospital security staff.
The Sunday evening encounter resulted in the arrest of a 51-year-old Girard man who works at Northside and a 35-year-old Salem man whose employment is not listed on a police report. The city prosecutor is to consider today filing charges of assault and criminal damaging.
Bonnie Lambert, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, said those arrested were a striking nurse and a supporter of the strikers.
The victims, employed by U.S. Nursing based in Denver, told police that as they entered Children's Drive near Gypsy Lane about 6:20 p.m., several pickets approached their car.
The Salem man is accused of hitting the car with his picket sign, then striking the hood with his right hand.
Passenger hit: As the car with the replacement nurses moved forward, the Salem man reached in and hit the passenger in the face, the victims said. The man, who tried to flee, was caught and forced to the ground by a city police officer and hospital security guard.
Police said the Girard man squirted something from a plastic water bottle at the driver. The bottle has been held as evidence.
While en route to the county jail, the Salem man complained of chest pains and was taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center instead. He was issued a court summons.
The Girard man was booked at the jail.
Lawyers for the nurses union are looking into the arrests and the treatment of those arrested, Lambert said.
She said the two people arrested were held face-down on the ground and roughly handled by security guards hired by Forum.
"There was no need for that. They didn't deserve that," she said.
Lambert said that she didn't know why they were arrested but that she didn't think anyone was involved in any violence.
Doubts violence: "As far as I know, they weren't doing anything," she said.
The strikers and other supporters at the rally were simply walking around the hospital, marking the two-month anniversary of the start of the strike. They also had a picnic.
"We weren't throwing stones. We didn't have baseball bats. We had children with us," she said.
She said she isn't sure when negotiations will resume.
A hospital spokeswoman could not be reached this morning.
N. Kristopher Hoce, Forum chief executive and president, called for round-the-clock talks last week, saying interruptions have caused the two sides to lose momentum.
Lambert said union officials will attend round-the-clock talks if Hoce meant what he said. He knew, however, that she was going to be out of town last week at a previously scheduled nursing convention, she said.
Overtime issue: Hoce said last week that the union has rejected the hospital's plan to "virtually eliminate" mandatory overtime, the major sticking point in negotiations.
Lambert said, however, that mandatory overtime remains part of Forum's plan but wasn't included in information given to the press last week.

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