Nurses continue strike at Forum after breakdown in negotiations
A national union leader said mandatory overtime prompted three nurses strikes in 2000.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Talks between Forum Health and the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association broke down after a three-hour meeting Friday, their first session in four days.
Hospital spokeswoman Evonne Woloshyn said no progress was made and no new talks are scheduled.
Major issue: The nurses have been on the picket line since May 1, citing mandatory overtime as the major sticking point. Economic issues, including wages and a union request for health-care coverage for retirees, also remain on the table.
Striking Forum nurses received some national support Friday from Mary Foley, president of the American Nurses Association, the nation's largest nurses union.
Foley joined nurses on the picket lines, spoke at a YGDNA rally at the Maronite Center and later addressed union members at a dinner at Mill Creek Park.
Calling mandatory overtime an "epidemic problem" in health care across the country, Foley said it was a key issue in three other nurses strikes in 2000.
Nurses in Wooster, Mass., Nyack, N.Y., and Washington Hospital Medical Center in Washington, D.C., also struck over the issue, she said.
Show of support: "I'm here to show national support for the nurses who have the courage to take a stance on a cutting-edge issue in health care," she said. "We're not against overtime. There will always be overtime in nursing. What we want is the chance to plan for it and volunteer for in a rested way. It's not safe for a nurse to be making complicated medical decisions after working 15 or 16 hours."
Nurses are picketing at Northside Medical Center and Tod Children's Hospital, both in Youngstown, and at Beeghly Medical Park in Boardman, but Forum's Trumbull County facilities and its Austintown Medical Center are not affected.