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Northside Nurses Vote to Authorize Strike Notice
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A spokeswoman for ValleyCare Health System of Ohio and Northside Medical Center said a statement could be forthcoming later today regarding last night’s vote by the union representing registered nurses to give its negotiation team the authority to issue a 10-day strike notice.
Members of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association held three meetings Thursday, following the fifth day of negotiations Wednesday between the Ohio Nurses Association chapter and representatives of ValleyCare, Northside and Nashville-based Community Health Systems. CHS formed ValleyCare after it acquired the primary assets of the former Forum Health Inc.
YGDNA's current contract expires July 19; next week’s scheduled talks will be under federal mediation. The union represents some 400 registered nurses at Northside Medical Center.
In a website post, the union said that after continuing to deliver award-winning care despite “financial distress” under Forum, its registered nurses “felt hopeful they would no longer have to labor under such difficulty to attain the level of quality they aspire to” because ValleyCare/Northside, a CHS subsidiary, is a "profitable entity.” Instead, the nurses found with CHS management “a lack of care for employee value, decreasing incentive for retention and recruitment of nurses resulting in decreased staffing levels and a resistance to develop a plan to address daily staffing needs which results, often times, in unsafe staffing.”
According to its website, CHS, through its subsidiaries, owns, leases or operates 135 hospitals in 29 states. For the first quarter of the year, it reported net operating revenues of $3.3 billion, up 11$ from the same period in 2011. Its stock closed Thursday at $27.60, down 0.22%.
The nurses' union says its members have been working at the same wage level since 2006.
In 2001, the union staged a lengthy strike against the former Forum Health and Northside.
Copyright 2012 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.