Wilkes-Barre hospital nurses protest lockout after daylong strike

Registered nurses from Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital protested June 3 after they were not allowed to return to work following a one-day strike, according to The Citizens' Voice.

The nurses, represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, went on strike May 31, primarily over staffing levels. Temporary replacement nurses were brought in to staff the hospital during the strike.

Wilkes-Barre General did not allow its nurses to return to work June 1 because of its commitment to the temporary workers, but the hospital's nurses told The Citizens' Voice they anticipate returning to work June 5.

Wilkes-Barre nurses are working under an expired contract. They are overworked and the hospital — which is owned by Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems — is short-staffed, the nurses say.

Commonwealth Health spokesperson Renita Fennick did not address the labor dispute in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, except to say the hospital is operating as usual.

"All hospital services are continuing at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and we are providing a full complement of care for patients, whether they have a medical emergency, require surgery or critical care, or are here to give birth," the statement reads. "The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been on site to review personnel files for all of the temporary replacement nurses and to do a full rounding on all units.Their summary report was positive and found no concerns." 


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