Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

One year anniversity without pact for Wilkes-Barre nurses

05.19.14

MAY 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

One year anniversity without pact for Wilkes-Barre nurses

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 24th- According to Terry Marcavage, Staff Representative of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professional (PASNAP) Union in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia, has found merit in Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges filed by the Wyoming Valley Nurses Association (WVNA), and has issued a complaint against the operators of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. The medical center is operated by the Community Health Systems (CHS) Inc. The WVNA is affiliated with PASNAP.

The WNVA represents the nurses at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital on River Street in Wilkes-Barre and have been attempting to negotiate with CHS for a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for more than fifteen months. The previous CBA between the two parties expired on April 30th, 2013.

CHS Inc., the Tennessee-based company, is the largest for-profit hospital chain in the nation, and recently got even bigger after it was announced on February 6th the conglomerate will purchase a western Pennsylvania health system. CHS purchased Sharon Regional Health System which has 1,800 workers making it the largest employer in Mercer County of Pennsylvania. CHS owns or operates at least 200 hospitals in 29 states.

On April 21st, PASNAP members of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital conducted a informational picket outside the medical facility, publicly protesting short staffing of nurses but the rally had more to do with the lack of gaining a new CBA.

According to the Union, during negotiations management has proposed a wage freeze while demanding other contract concessions. Because of the failure to reach a agreement, PASNAP filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) on how they have conducted themselves at the negotiating table.

However, the NLRB had scheduled a hearing on the complaints for April 1st but postponed the hearing. Now, the NLRB has issued additional complaint after their investigation found merit in PASNAP’s three other ULP’s.

Ms. Marcavage stated CHS has made the removal of the union security contract language and the dues deduction clause a priority. The next negotiating meeting between the parties is scheduled for May 7th.