Forum Health, union schedule talks
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
The union president said the federal mediator has proposed moving the talks to the Cleveland area.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Negotiating teams for Forum Health and the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association will return to the bargaining table Monday morning for their first meeting since 771 registered nurses went on strike Tuesday.
Bonnie Lambert, president of the association, said the federal mediator who's been working with the two sides has proposed moving the talks to the Cleveland area.
She said it's not surprising that no talks have been held since the nurses walked out. "Often the federal mediator will give both sides some time out, give them time to think about what's going on," she said.
"I just hope that we can sit down and talk face to face this time. We want some dialogue."
In the past, Lambert said, many negotiation sessions have been spent with the company and union teams in different rooms, exchanging written proposals, or in the same room with little dialogue going on.
No details about talks: "We're just excited about getting back to the bargaining table," said Evonne Woloshyn, a Forum spokeswoman. She would not divulge the time and location of the talks.
Members of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association have been on the picket lines at three Forum facilities -- Northside Medical Center and Tod Children's Hospital, both in Youngstown, and at Beeghly Medical Park in Boardman.
Forum's Trumbull County hospitals and its Austintown Medical Center are not affected by the walkout.
Forum bused in 270 registered nurses from outside the area and has promised to keep the facilities open throughout the strike. Woloshyn said the replacement nurses are working with about 50 practical nurses, and more than 100 supervisory, nonunion nurses. Physicians are also helping out.
The nurses held a rally and cookout Friday afternoon for members and other area labor organizations at its headquarters, a small office building on Gypsy Lane about a block from Northside and Tod.
"We just want to keep our message out there," Lambert said.
Noise issue: Arlene Nagy, a YGDNA member and past chairman, said the nurses were trying to keep their supporters quiet Friday after Youngstown city workers erected quiet zone signs on Gypsy Lane, the street fronting Northside and Tod Children's Hospital. Passers-by have been honking their car horns at the strikers as a sign of support.
"We made some new signs that say: 'Don't honk, just wave!'" Nagy said. "We don't want our supporters to get in trouble. We trying to keep it fairly low key because we know it's a hospital zone."
She said a Youngstown police officer stopped off Friday at the union's strike headquarters and advised the nurses that motorists could be cited for excessive noise in the hospital zone.
Woloshyn said the hospital did not request the signs and has no plans to request a court order limiting the number of pickets. She said the striking nurses have been allowing visitors to pass without a problem and the hospital has no complaints about their behavior on the picket line.