Ascension hospital cancels bargaining session after nurse 'walk-in'

Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, said it canceled a recent bargaining session after members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee, an affiliate of National Nurses United, held a "walk-in" to hand deliver their staffing proposal to leaders.

The cancellation and walk-in took place Aug. 31 as union members and the hospital are negotiating a new labor contract. The union represents 900 nurses at Ascension Seton, which is part of St. Louis-based Ascension. Union members at Ascension Seton were among nurses at three Ascension hospitals in Texas and Kansas who went on strike in June.

Since the strike, hospital management has not provided adequate solutions to fix unsafe working conditions, nurses said, according to ABC affiliate KVUE. This resulted in the walk-in to hand the director of the intensive care unit and the director of med-surg for Ascension Seton their staffing proposal. 

"They've had many opportunities to settle this contract and to make the changes that need to happen for our patients, and they've chosen not to," said Lindsay Spinney, BSN, RN, a neonatal ICU nurse at Ascension Seton, according to KVUE.

Ms. Spinney also told the TV station that "at any point in time, a nurse could be responsible for up to possibly six patients, which is very unsafe in a critical care setting." 

Ascension Seton condemned the union's actions Aug. 31 as "unprofessional, disrespectful and in blatant violation of the decorum by which negotiations are managed" and said they canceled the day's bargaining session to protect the well-being of the bargaining team.

The hospital also emphasized its commitment to negotiating with the union in good faith.

"It is unfortunate that NNU chooses to conduct themselves in this manner and continues to focus on publicity stunts as opposed to what is important — reaching agreement at the bargaining table and doing what is right for our nurses, patients, hospital and community. Unfortunately, such antics only slow the process," Ascension Seton said in a statement shared with Becker's

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