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Nurses at two sites issue strike notice



Published: Fri, July 23, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



The same union was on strike for 81 days three years ago.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Registered nurses at Forum Health's Youngstown and Boardman campuses are threatening to strike Aug. 2 if they don't get a new contract by then.

Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, a union of the Ohio Nurses Association which represents about 700 registered nurses at Forum, issued a 12-day strike notice to the hospital Wednesday evening.

John Gonda, a Forum spokesman, said the YGDNA-ONA represents registered nurses at Northside Medical Center and Tod Children's Hospital, both on Youngstown's North Side, and at Beeghly Medical Park in Boardman. Forum nurses at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren are represented by another union.

Carrie Calvert, an ONA spokeswoman in Columbus, declined to comment.

Gonda said the hospital has been negotiating with YGDNA-ONA leaders since May, but he could not say what issues remain unresolved, except to mention that they include economic and noneconomic issues. About 16 sessions have been held and more are to be scheduled, he said.

The nurses' contract was originally set to expire at midnight Monday, but the union agreed to a contract extension that expires at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 2.

The YGDNA-ONA was on strike for 81 days in 2001 when mandatory overtime was a major sticking point.

Focused on talks

Gonda wouldn't discuss the possible impact of a strike, saying Forum officials are focused on reaching an agreement.

"We were pleased with how the Service Employees International Union negotiations went for us in the spring, and we're hoping to use the same policy of mutual respect and cooperation to reach an agreement with the ONA," he said.

District 1199 of SEIU, which represents about 1,500 medical, service and maintenance workers at Forum's Northside and Trumbull Memorial hospitals, ratified a new, three-year contract in April.

That contract included pay raises of more than 7 percent over the three years and prescription benefits for retirees.

vinarsky@vindy.com




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