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PASNAP Union members strike hospital for 24-hours

01.18.11

JANUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

PASNAP Union members strike hospital for 24-hours

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 6th- Union members, their families and community leaders walked the picket line with nurses employed at Wilkes-Barre General Hosptial, which does business as the Wyoming Valley Health Care System, River Street in Wilkes-Barre, on December 23nd to protest the lack of reaching a new contract agreement between the employer and the labor organization that represents the employees.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professional (PASNAP) Union of Conshohocken Pennsylvania, represents approximately 440 nurses employed at the medical center. The Union also represents nurses employed at the Community Medical Center (CMC) on Mulberry Street in Scranton.

PASNAP and Community Health Systems (CHS) Inc., which owns the medical center, have been negotiating for more than nineteen months attempting to gain a successor labor contract agreement. The previous pact expired on August 30th, 2009. The two sides agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while negotiations continue for a new pact but the employer has changed several conditions of work including forcing union officials to collect monthly union dues rather than having them collected through employees pay-checks.

The Tennessee based CHS Inc. is the largest owner of for-profit hospitals in the United States.

The Union filed multiple labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia in the spring however the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges were dismissed by the agency ruling the complaints lacked merit.

However, the NLRB found merit in a PASNAP Unfair Labor Practice charge alleging the Employer has withdrawn its agreement to specific bargaining proposals and has done so because of previous ULP’s filed by the Union.

The most recent complaint, which was filed on November 30th, 2010 at the NLRB office in Philadelphia, is at least the fifth ULP filed by the Union against the Employer during 2010.

The union filed a ULP charge on March 11th, 2010 alleging CHS Inc. was negotiating in bad faith and violated the NLRAct. On May 14th, the union filed another ULP.

On July 15th, 2010 the Union filed another ULP alleging the Employer violated the NLRAct. The NLRB found merit in the July 15th ULP and conducted a hearing in November.

The membership voted to authorize a strike against the medical center and on December 23rd, staged a 24-hour strike. The union gave the employer an advance warning of the strike so CHS could prepare for the work stoppage. CHS hired temporary scabs to replace the striking nurses.

At noon on December 23rd a rally was held to show support for the strikers. The event was attended by several political leaders, and union members from throughout the Wyoming Valley.

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