Nurses’ Union Headed to Mediation
Thursday, October, 17, 2019
A federal mediator will assist nurses from Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and the hospital that employs them to resolve their contract issues. There are more than 500 nurses in the union and they have been working without a contract since the end of June.
There have been more than a dozen meetings between the union and the hospital, but the most recent upcoming bargaining sessions were canceled after both sides requested mediation. The first session is scheduled for mid-October.
Nurses remain on the job despite their dispute and their picket sessions outside of the hospital in mid-September.
According to a statement issued by Good Samaritan officials, “Hospital leadership is committed to reach an agreement that can be ratified by the nurses as soon as possible for the benefit of our staff and patients.” The statement also explained that the hospital provides competitive pay and benefits and is offering a 1 percent raise for each year of the new contract.
Kevin Mealy, a spokesperson for the union, stated that pay rates are part of the discussion but are not “the union’s main concern.” The main issue, according to union leaders, is staffing. Mealy claims staffing levels are inadequate and operating room nurses must be on call at least 50 to 70 hours a week in addition to their full-time work. Other nurses are caring for 10 patients at any given time during breaks.
Hospital administration claims it is working on hiring more nurses.
Another issue, according to the union, is health insurance premiums, which the union claims are too high.