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NLRB hearing regarding CHS and PASNAP delayed

05.26.14

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

NLRB hearing regarding CHS and PASNAP delayed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 30th- The nurses at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre that are represented by the Wyoming Valley Nurses Association (WVNA), which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professional (PASNAP) Union in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, are still without a new labor agreement.

PASNAP has been unsuccessful in gaining a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Community Health Systems (CHS), which operates the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and at least seven other medical facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. CHS operates the Scranton Regional Hospital in Scranton. The medical center was previously known as Mercy Hospital.

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.

The two parties have been conducting bargaining sessions but have failed to reach an agreement for 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. The NLRB had scheduled a hearing on the complaints for April 1st but have since postponed the hearing until at least the third week of May.

PASNAP members at the Wilkes-Barre Hospital went on strike for one day on December 3rd to protest the lack of progress at the bargaining table for a CBA. CHS responded by hiring scab nurses and locking-out unionized RN’s for a additional two days.

The Union believes another strike may be neccessary to get CHS and the public’s attention regarding the lack of progress at the bargaining table. No date for a possible work-stoppage has been announced.

The previous CBA between the two parties expired on April 30th, 2013.