Temple University Hospital workers authorize strike

Members of the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association and Temple Allied Professionals have voted to authorize a strike, according to an Oct. 13 union news release shared with Becker's.

The unions, which are affiliates of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, represent nurses, technical specialists and other professionals at Philadelphia-based Temple University Hospital.

On Oct. 12, 2,250 union members voted to authorize a strike by a 95 percent majority, according to the union news release. The vote does not mean a strike will occur, but it authorizes union members' bargaining committees to call a joint walkout.

In a statement shared with Becker's on Oct. 12, Temple Health said that during negotiations, it is "having thoughtful and respectful conversations [with the unions] and we look forward to continuing productive negotiations until we reach a contract conclusion."

Temple Health also said the goal is "to secure the region's best healthcare labor contracts for our team and for the patients we are committed to serving. Temple University Hospital has offered wage increases that would make our nurses the highest paid of any of the region's academic medical centers and has also offered to make many of our allied professionals the highest paid in many of the region's academic medical centers."

The unions contend that the hospital administration has refused to invest in critical quality-of-care issues such as safe staffing.

"We have very reasonable offers on the table, chief among them a proposal that would ensure safe staffing in the hospital. That's what we want. That's what our patients want. That's what a hospital that cares about patient outcomes should want. Yet management has refused even to respond to our good-faith proposal regarding staffing," Mary Adamson, RN, president of the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association, said in the union release.

Carlos Aviles, a certified pharmacy technician and president of Temple Allied Professionals, said in the news release that workers "don't get respect for our professionals at the bargaining table. We don't get gratitude for our contributions. … We get TUH trying to operate for profit in a nonprofit environment at the expense of its patients and its own caregivers."

Temple Health said it hopes to avoid a strike but is prepared to provide uninterrupted care if one occurs.

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