Wilkes-Barre General Hospital nurses plan for May 31 strike

Nurses at Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital intend to strike May 31 unless an agreement on staffing and patient care issues is reached ahead of time, according to the Times Leader.

The nurses, represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, said they are prepared to strike for one day, only if necessary.

"A strike is always a last resort," said Elaine Weale, RN, PASNAP and local president, according to the report. "But these are serious issues that impact patient safety. We feel we have to stand up and fight for the quality of care that our patients need and deserve."

The nurses say the hospital is short-staffed. They also brought up the issue of mandatory overtime in a news release about the strike, reports the Times Leader. In March, the union claimed Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry found the hospital and its owner, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, illegally forced nurses to work overtime.

A spokesperson for Wilkes-Barre General at the time told Becker's Hospital Review "The matter is far from complete," and the hospital is "confident the thorough documentation we provided proves the hospital's compliance with the law regarding mandatory overtime."

A recent CHS statement did not specifically discuss staffing or overtime issues, but stated the union "has served a notice of its intent to conduct a strike, picketing and other concerted refusal to work activity," according to the Times Leader.

A hospital spokesperson also said, "A contingency operations plan will be implemented, in the event the strike does occur, to ensure continuation of quality services. As always, our top priority is the care and safety of our patients, employees and visitors wherever such activity may occur."


More articles on human capital and risk:

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