LORAIN — Mercy Regional Medical Center nurses plan a 24-hour strike beginning at 12 p.m. on Oct. 19 if contract negotiations remained stalemated.
“It raises the level of the seriousness to the community about the issues that are out here and it obviously costs the hospital financially,” said Al Bacon, secretary/treasurer of Service Employees International Union District 1199 which represents the 590-member nurses union.
The nurses contract expired Aug. 31.Talks have deadlocked over the health benefit and pension concessions Mercy officials are seeking and Bacon said Mercy has refused to talk about staffing.
The union contends Mercy is understaffing nurses to save money which hospital officials deny. Bacon said the union has filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over Mercy’s new “team-based nursing” plan.
Bacon said Mercy officials didn’t consult the union when they announced the plan Thursday which he said was a labor violation. The plan, which hospital officials say will increase efficiency, was part of a $10 million savings plan that includes 20 layoffs of non-union workers.
Mercy spokeswoman Janis Yergan didn’t return calls Monday afternoon, but in a written statement said that any nurses replaced by strikebreakers will not be allowed to return to work for five days.
Yergan wrote that a strike was unnecessary and Mercy was committed to the highest level of care, “regardless of the disruptive action by SEIU.”
– See Tuesday’s Chronicle-Telegram for the full story.
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