FORUM NURSES STRIKE Union plans 'Rally in the Valley'
The rally will be a victory celebration if Forum and the nurses union reach a contract settlement by next weekend.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Bound by a temporary restraining order limiting its pickets, a striking Forum Health nurses union is making plans to rally members and supporters next weekend with a parade instead of a picket line march.
Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court approved a temporary restraining order Tuesday limiting the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association to seven adult pickets at each entrance of Northside Medical Center on Gypsy Lane.
Jean Troutman-Poole, a YGDNA spokeswoman, said the union plans to comply with that order. It has filed a parade permit application for 3 p.m. July 14 with the city of Youngstown's Department of Public Works.
If approved, she said, the nurses' "Rally in the Valley" event would start at outside the union strike headquarters on Gypsy Lane. Participants would proceed along Gypsy Lane, passing Northside and Tod Children's Hospital, turning right on Fifth Avenue and right again on Tod Lane for a rally and picnic at Crandall Park.
Other unions invited: The union has invited all Valley labor unions to participate and also expects some state and national union leaders to attend, Troutman-Poole said.
"If we get an agreement by next weekend, we'll turn it into a victory party," she said.
YGDNA's parent union, the United American Nurses, achieved AFL-CIO affiliation last week, and Troutman-Poole said that development is attracting more interest in the 68-day walkout among labor circles.
Union leaders say their last rally, held July 1 to mark the beginning of their third month on the picket line, attracted 300 members and supporters. They insist that the nurses were peaceful then, and that they have been peaceful since the walkout began May 1.
Forum officials have disagreed, alleging that nurses and others at the rally Sunday prevented ambulances from entering the hospital, harassed employees and prevented them from entering and leaving. Two replacement nurses employed by U.S. Nursing, based in Denver, also complained that they were assaulted, and one Northside employee was arrested on charges of assault and criminal damaging.
Hearing: Attorneys representing the hospital and the nurses union reached an agreement on the terms of the temporary restraining order, and a hearing on a temporary injunction is set for 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Troutman-Poole said YGDNA leaders are also planning a labor summit at 12:30 p.m. Saturday before the rally. They'll be meeting with local public officials and labor leaders from around the area and the state to discuss strategies for putting pressure on the company to end the walkout.