Friday, September 7, 2018
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Nurses at Northside Regional Medical Center have reached a tentative agreement with hospital owner Steward Health Care, union officials said late Thursday night.
The officials declined to give any details of the pact, pending a vote by union members next week.
Earlier Thursday, the union negotiators said the goal still is to keep the hospital open, but gave no further details about that Thursday night.
Steward, citing a decade-long trend of a low patient census at the Gypsy Lane building, announced last month it planned to close the hospital Sept. 20.
The hospital reported the closure will affect 468 employees, the largest share of which are nurses.
The American Federation of Teachers, the national affiliate of the Ohio Nurses Association, has been participating in the negotiations between Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association members and the hospital system.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “I went to the bargaining table myself, as the president of the AFT. I had what was an interesting session with management.”
Weingarten declined to characterize the negotiations, but said, “The bottom line is this – we very much believe that Youngstown needs a second hospital, and that the hospital should not close. ... We will be fighting to keep that hospital open.”
She said the union’s proposal shows “we are still fighting, fighting, fighting to keep a medical facility on the North Side of Youngstown. But at the same time, we want to make sure ... that these nurses get treated more fairly than they have been thus far.”
She declined to elaborate further, citing the sensitivity of the negotiations.
“We are in the middle of a very, very important time,” she said.
Numerous Mahoning Valley elected officials turned out to show their support for the Northside nurses, including state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, state Rep. John Boccieri of Poland, D-59th, and Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.
Schiavoni said his focus is on making sure Northside employees get fair severance packages, and said he planned to contact a Steward representative Thursday to reiterate that point.
Steward did not wish to comment Thursday.