UPDATE | Nurses strike underway; all services at Northside proceeding as normal

YOUNGSTOWN — About 300 Northside Medical Center registered nurses turned out at the 7 a.m. today beginning of their one-day strike against the hospital on Gypsy Lane.

A hospital spokeswoman said all inpatient, outpatient and emergency services were available today, and all surgeries and diagnostic procedures went forward as scheduled.

The nurses went ahead with their strike despite a last-minute contention by ValleyCare Ohio Health System, Northside’s owner, that the union’s 10-day strike notice was invalid and that the nurses' jobs would be at risk if they struck.

ValleyCare said Monday that it had filed a charge against the union with the National Labor Relations Board on the 10-strike notice issue.

Eric Williams, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, said that as of this morning that Ohio Nurses Association and American Federation of Teachers attorneys, are helping the YGDNA, which represents about 420 RNs at Northside.

Further, Williams said, the union’s attorneys believe the 10-day notice is valid, and they have filed an intimidation charge with the NLRB against the hospital.

“We’re ready and willing to bargain around the clock to reach an agreement,” Williams said. “But we have to have someone to talk to — and Northside management and Community Health Systems Inc., the hospital’s for-profit owner, have been unwilling to discuss the issues we have raised that relate to the quality of patient care.”

After the initial rally, the nurses, split into three- to four-hour shifts, were to will picket until about 7 p.m. when the strike will end, Williams said.

Another rally is scheduled for 11 a.m. today when area political representatives are expected to show their support for the nurses, Williams said.

For updated details, check out Vindy.com

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