Pennsylvania hospitals block nurses from returning to work after strike

Officials at First Hospital, a private psychiatric facility in Kingston, Pa., and Moses Taylor Hospital, a 214-bed, acute care facility in Scranton, Pa., said registered nurses who held a 24-hour strike April 25 won't be able to return to work until April 30, according to The Citizens' Voice.

The nurses, represented by The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, are barred from returning to work for five additional days due to obligations regarding the temporary replacement workers the hospitals hired to fill vacancies left by striking employees, hospital officials said in emailed statements to The Citizens' Voice.

Clayton Nottelmann, chief human resources officer at First Hospital, said other healthcare professionals at the hospital filled in for unionized First Hospital service and technical workers, who participated in the strike, as well. Therefore, no temporary replacement workers were necessary in their case.

The healthcare workers from both hospitals have been working under expired union contracts since last year. In a previous news release cited by the Times Leader, the union said the strike came after "months of unproductive negotiations that have failed to yield fair union contracts that include progress on key issues such as understaffing, safety, and the floating of nurses between hospital units." 

Elizabeth Leo, chief human resources at Moses Taylor Hospital, said in response: "The hospital offered a fair and competitive, multi-year contract and continued to engage in good faith negotiations until the SEIU abruptly ended bargaining."

Both hospitals are owned by Commonwealth Health, which Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems formed in 2012.


More articles on human capital:

UPHS-Marquette nurses vote to put option for second strike on table
Workers at Tenet hospital picket in California over patient care concerns
Union says Mayo retaliated against striking employees in new NLRB charges: 7 things to know


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