Pennsylvania hospital nurse strike looms

Registered nurses from Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital have authorized their union bargaining committee to call a strike if necessary, according to a Times Leader report.

The Wyoming Valley Nurses Association, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, represents more than 400 registered nurses at the hospital.

The union has been in negotiations with the hospital's owner, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, and staffing reportedly has been a key sticking point.

Elaine Weale, president of the Wyoming Valley Nurses Association, told the Times Leader understaffing is a problem at Wilkes-Barre General and contributed to workers' decision to possibly walk off the job.

"While we would prefer not to fight, we remain determined to continue the fight for safer patient care for as long as it takes. Our patients' care depends on it," Ms. Weale said at a news conference.

Registered nurses have gone on strike before, in May.

A prepared statement from the hospital, obtained by the Times Leader, said both sides have been in negotiations since the previous labor deal expired Jan. 31, and encouraged the union "to take constructive action to reach an agreement at the bargaining table."


More articles on human capital and risk:

Nurses at St. Luke's Hospital in Massachusetts vote to unionize
Amid unionization push, some Johns Hopkins nurses say poor working conditions jeopardize patient safety
Kaiser mental health clinicians to walk off job Dec. 10



No strike date has been set. The union is required  give the hospital at least 10 days' notice before workers strike.

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