Northside nurses will discuss contract negotiations at town-hall meeting

Staff report

youngstown

The Ohio Nurses Association will have a town-hall meeting Monday to discuss upcoming plans for Valley-Care Northside Medical Center and ongoing negotiations between the nurses there and Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, which owns the hospital.

The meeting from 9 to 11 a.m. will take place at The Saxon Club pavilion, 710 S. Meridian Road.

For nearly a year, Northside nurses have been trying to negotiate a contract with CHS with no success. Their contract expired in July 2012.

The Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, which represents 400 nurses at Northside, is a member of the ONA, a statewide union.

State Sens. Joseph Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, and Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, are scheduled to attend.

The nurses are concerned about what they call a “downstaffing” plan in which the hospital could cancel shifts on short notice when fewer patients are in for treatment and then be called back “just in time” to meet an influx of newly admitted patients, according to an ONA press release on the matter.

Northside nurses have equated the proposal with “nurse rationing” that they feel will diminish the level of patient care offered at the hospital.

ONA also plans to discuss the hospital’s proposed $20 million expansion and renovation project at Northside on Gypsy Lane.

The project will expand patient-care resources and be the largest infrastructure investment at Northside since 1998. Construction is expected to begin in July and be complete by late 2014.

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