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Nurses at Northside OK strike notification

Published: Fri, July 13, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn



Northside Medical Center nurses, upset about the lack of progress in contract talks with ValleyCare Health System of Ohio, have authorized the union negotiating team to give a 10-day strike notice to the hospital system.

Staffing levels and wages are the primary issues, Eric Williams, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, said after the first of three mass membership meetings Thursday at Teamsters Local 377’s hall on Teamster Drive.

Williams would not give the vote count.

“We hope that this will refocus so the parties can reach an agreement,” he said.

There has been insignificant progress in negotiations, and there is much unity and unhappiness among members, Williams said.

Talks on Tuesday and those scheduled for Wednesday are under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The YGDNA represents about 400 registered nurses at ValleyCare Northside Medical Center on Gypsy Lane. Their work agreement expires Thursday.

Likewise, the results of talks between ValleyCare and about 25 registered nurses at its Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland were described as “disappointing” by Atty. Cathleen Slater of the Ohio Nurses Association.

Staff retention and recruiting issues important to the nurses are being disregarded and not taken seriously; there is no nurse on the other side of the table, as is typical, Slater contended.

The contract between the ONA Hillside Unit and ValleyCare also expires Thursday.

The lack of a nurse on the ValleyCare negotiating team who understands nursing issues also concerns Williams.

The YGDNA has proposed a financial package that will enable ValleyCare Northside to retain and recruit quality nurses, he said.

However, he said ValleyCare has responded with a proposal to send nurses home four days within four shifts in two-week pay periods. For full-time nurses, that could be up to a 50 percent cut in pay; for some part-time nurses it could result in no pay because they wouldn’t work at all.

In addition, Williams said, is the potential for increased costs for nurses’ health care.

The YGDNA says its members have not had a pay raise since 2006 and gave millions of dollars in concessions, such as a freeze on longevity increases, personal days and holidays to the financially struggling Forum Health that the new owner does not need, Williams said.

“This company is doing well,” he said of ValleyCare.

“We’re committed to keeping Northside open and providing the best possible care. To do that, ValleyCare has to provide a wage and benefits package that enables it to retain and recruit the best nurses,” he said.

The last time the nurses went on strike was in 2001 when Forum Health operated the hospital.


1magnolia(27 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

All remaining employees at this system have sacrificed tremendously. Wage freezes, give backs and take aways, it is just beyond reason that they want more. The only thing the hospital system will be satisfied with is having an all per diem staff. Then they will not have to offer any benefits and can flex to their hearts content. The only problem with that is, most people aren't interested in working like that. Most people have families, mortgages, etc. and need their full-time jobs to support themselves and their families. If this company is hurting that bad, just like the former owner, than maybe they should have thought twice about buying the place.

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2lumper(291 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

the health insurance should be more favorable if you use valley care facilities. coverage should approach 95 %.

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3lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Go ahead and strike, Alliance hospital needs more customers

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4NoBS(2516 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

And the class warfare continues. . . .

Gotta break those unions at all costs!!!

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5CongressWatcher(222 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I sure hope the two sides can come to an agreement without ugliness. However, the size of this new healthcare system will be a different animal in dealing with strikes than the previous owners were. Like I said, I hope picket lines do not become necessary. If there are however, it will be nice to see Tim, Bob, Ron, Capri, and Joe all together and amongst the people again.

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6Eric(202 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

We have to keep in mind two things about the new owners. First, they are FOR PROFIT, second, they are a Tennessee based company where unions are virtually unheard of. Don't expect any concession they don't absolutely have to make. CHS is in healthcare to make a profit, and they don't bend to union demands.

Call it greedy if you must, but CHS is keeping this place going. And they must be doing something right if the hospital is financially solvent. Welcome to the new world of healthcare.

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7Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I see the tea /right wing anti union
group is out and about for blood of the worker

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8CongressWatcher(222 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Don't shoot the messenger and he could have said it more tactfully, BUT Eric is basically correct. If the union pulls a strike, all the patients of Northside will soon be cared for by a few busloads of Philippine nurses for the duration. The entire nurses union may very well end up replaced as well in the long run. This is not Forum health you are dealing with, so be prepared. Good luck in your negotiations though. I truly mean that!

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9lumper(291 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

with obamacare, they would want the hospital open, since nobody in this town has a job with health insurance, and valleycare would reap benefits of uninsured care finally being reimbursed. any profit now would be small compared to what lies down the road.

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10TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Eric, well said and unbiased. You will likely not do well on these message boards however. Strong thought and grammar are not prevalent here, but I look forward to more posts.

Here's a good example of what I am referring too:

"I see the tea /right wing anti union
group is out and about for blood of the worker "


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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Got to did I Tyler
Hate comes out when the truth comes out.
Enjoy your tea tonight

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