TMH nurses have new 3-year deal with CHS

By William K. Alcorn


Registered nurses at Trumbull Memorial Hospital here recently ratified a new three-year contract with Community Health System’s ValleyCare of Ohio.

The contract, which was effective Nov. 1 and expires Oct. 31, 2015, includes across-the-board pay increases of 2.5 percent the first year and 2 percent in each of the last two years, or re-institution of longevity-step increases, whichever is greater, said Thomas Connelly, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2026, which represents about 425 nurses at the hospital.

Connelly said he feels good about achieving a contract.

“We certainly know what the economy is like, and we weren’t looking for a work action,” he said.

He added that CHS wanted six mandated furlough days during a four-week schedule, and the contract specifies eight hours of furlough during a four-week scheduling period.

Before that can happen, however, the company has to get rid of contract and per-diem nurses and seek volunteers.

“It’s not like we don’t know CHS is making money. We would just like to see more of the profits rolled back into the community,” Connelly said. “Technology is great, but nurses take care of people, and we would like to see more done to attract and keep quality nurses and see that the ones we have get the training they need.”

No progress is being made, however, in negotiations between Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association/Ohio Nurses Association and ValleyCare Northside Medical Center in Youngstown.

Eric Williams, president of YGDNA, said CHS, based in Tennessee, has presented no packages to the union that would allow any movement.

“We’re about where we were when negotiations began in May,” Williams said Wednesday. The YGDNA’s contract expired July 19.

A negotiating session is scheduled for Jan. 9, but Williams said the last meeting lasted about five minutes before company representatives walked out.

The nurses at North Side have gone six years without a raise, and they pay about the standard in the area of health-care premium shares, he said.

“Community Health Systems continues to be profitable. There is no reason that the nurses should not expect to share in those profits,” Williams added.

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