Youngstown RNs demand 'Justice for Nurses' as strike passes day 70

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Youngstown RNs demand 'Justice for Nurses' as strike passes day 70


Striking nurses from the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association (Ohio Nurses Association) continue to bring the message to Western Reserve/Forum Health that safe staffing is not negotiable. As the strike, which began on May 1, passes the 70-day mark, nurses are planning a Rally in the Valley-Justice for Nurses march, to be held July 14 from 3-8 p.m. The march will begin at strike headquarters, 630 Gypsy Lane, in Youngstown. If you believe nurses deserve safe staffing and respect on the job, come to the rally and show your support for the courageous Youngstown nurses. For more information, contact YGDNA strike headquarters at 330-746-6344, or Michele Prater, ONA Communications, at 614-448-1029. Safe staffing is not negotiable!!


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This group of over 700 RNs in Youngstown Ohio, - represented by a constituent of the Ohio Nurses Association/UAN - has been on strike since May 1 for their own and pt safety, safe staffing, mandatory OT and recruitment/retention initiatives. They are out there fighting for whats right and are being disrespected by their employer every step of the way - even to the point of being made to look unreasonable to the public by their employer leaving out a few things it was insisting on from the nurses when it spoke to the news, and by being told that if they wanted restrictions on mandatory OT, theyd have to give up personal days, start paying for their healthcare & increase their payments to their prescription plans. What kind of blackmail is that??? Holding pt safety (and nurse) safety over their heads depending on how much they give up??? Of course the employer didnt bother to mention that little detail to the newspapers. These nurses deserve to be spotlighted to let the rest of the nursing world know whats going on over there. So, bear with me because here goes.......

Rosalie Nemeth Testimony

"I am a striking registered nurse at Forum Health. I would like to talk to you about my thoughts on the strike. What constitutes good business decisions? Utilizing resources wisely? Having a good working relationship with employees so that they buy into the goals of the organization? Having a safe and pleasant working environment to attract and retain good employees? Being competitive for both clients and employees? Delivering a superior product and trimming the excess and keeping the essentials? Do these ideas sound familiar?......

Nurses at Forum think these are common sense ideas. Our goal is to deliver a superior products (excellent nursing care) to our clients (our patients) in a safe manner. Hospitals exist solely for nursing care. Safety is cost effective. Safe care by adequate staffing has been shown to shorten patient's hospital stay and decrease complications. A safe working environment reduces injuries to nurses, which in turn is a savings for the hospital. A

safe and pleasant working environment attracts and retains employees as well as clients. If an employee feels respected and appreciated, she or he will buy into the corporate goal and project that to the patient.......

Forum Health has been paying scab nurses $40.00 to $90.00/hr. plus agency fees, lodging, food and bar bills and long distance phone calls so these scab nurses can work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Does this sound cost effective or safe to you? Forum Health has 24 vice presidents. Does this sound cost effective to you? Forum Health has 765 qualified, experienced and committed nurses on strike since May 1st. Many have found employment elsewhere.

Do you think they feel respected and appreciated?.......

Forum Health has told it's nurses "When you retire at less than 65 years of age, we are not interested in making available to you the ability to buy into our health care plan". Forum Health has told its nurses "Even if given the opportunity to resolve mandatory overtime you must accept forced and mandatory overtime as a way of life"....

Forum Health continues to introduce new issues each time and old issue is resolved. Does this sound like someone trying to resolve a strike?...

This is a hospital that has historically served at least half of our community. These are nurses who have provided that care within the hospital. How long will the community tolerate the stalled resolution of this strike? How long will the community tolerate outsiders invading our community and taking our resources to other cities? We have heard from the scab's own mouth that they are in this business for the money. It pays very well. They have

laughed in our faces and have shown us their paychecks. How long will we have to tolerate this injustice to our working people who have spent their entire careers giving care to the sick and injured of this community? How long? ">>>


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At Lockport Memorial Hospital in Lockport, New York, 127 nurses have walked off their jobs. The nurses have the support of the other three unions at the hospital even as the hospital administration began laying off those workers today. The hospital has transferred all it patients to other local hospitals and has announced that unlike in most nursing strikes in

the US it has no plans to bring in scab nurses associated with the US Nursing Corporation and similar groups. "This is a union town," suggested Edwin J. Robisch, staff and program director for the nurses union. "They know that if they brought in scab nurses, every union member in town would be picketing them." ...

The issues in the strike are staffing, pensions and wages, in that order of importance as far as the union is concerned. The union says that the hospital is intentionally short-staffed and is requiring mandatory overtime from nurses. "This strike is about the nurses coming home after eight hours," Roger Benson, state president of the Public Employees Federation and vice president of the state AFL-CIO told a rally last Friday. "They get to work and never know when they're going to come home." .....

At this time no new negotiations have been scheduled between the hospital management and the 127-member United Professional Nurses Association. This is only the latest in a long line of job actions by frustrated nurses across the country. Understaffing, mandatory overtime, reduced benefits, flat salaries.....

"this has been going on for years and basically nurses are just fed

up," said Anne Schott, communications director for the New York State Nurses Association/UAN. The Lockport nurses join colleagues who've taken their grievances to the streets in cities that so far this year include Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Brockton, Mass.; and Youngstown, Ohio, andelsewhere.......

The Youngstown nurses have been out since May 1. Striking nurses, as well as the hospital administrators they work for, point to a health system they say is failing to receive adequate funding from the federal government and private insurance companies to deliver quality care.

"It's unfortunate they have to take these steps on both parties' part," said Paul Sweet, an official at the Western New York Health Care Association, the hospital trade association. "Both the administration and unions are under financial constraints." .....

Sweet, echoing complaints throughout the local health care industry, said hospitals are starved for money and are looking to insurance companies and Washington for substantial increases in payments. Health insurance companies, for their part, have said Buffalo Niagara hospitals receive enough money. The challenge, they say, is for local hospitals to become more efficient and do a better job of providing care..

That's nonsense, said Debbie Hayes, a union negotiator for nurses at nearby Mercy Hospital. The 520 registered nurses at Mercy have authorized their leadership at Local 1133 of the Communications Workers of America to strike July 16 if a deal isn't reached. "Although insurance companies say there are inefficiencies in the system, facilities have consolidated and laid people off," Hayes said. "They've cut staffing at most facilities so we're at an absolute bare-bones level.......

"There are not enough nurses to get the work done, and people are working mandatory overtime and double shifts. The stress levels inside the hospitals are absolutely horrendous." Peggy Chadwack, another member of Local 1133's negotiating team, said nurses are leaving the field and the number of students entering the profession has been sliding for years......

Hospitals such as Buffalo General and Sisters that once had their own nursing schools have closed them. "Compared to teaching and other occupations, you work weekends, nights, holidays and they don't sweeten the pot to make you do that," Chadwack said. "Short staffing is a big issue." Schott said the current upheaval in the nursing industry has its roots in the major cuts in health care reimbursements made in the mid-1990s to balance the federal budget......

"Even before they hit, hospital management began to look for ways to cut costs," she said. Hospitals laid off nurses, cut staff through attrition and offered buyouts, Schott said. The effect was to not only force experienced nurses out of the business, but frighten off students as well.




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To the Youngstown General Duty Nurses & Ohio Nurses Assoc from their state elected officials:

"Dear Ms. Lambert:

We, the members of the Northeast Ohio Legislative Delegation, would like to offer our support and assistance for an expeditious conclusion to the ongoing labor dispute between Nurses and the management of Forum Health.......

We understand the complexities of the issues being negotiated and understand the collective bargaining process, however, we are concerned this ongoing struggle is casting a shadow on the valley and wish for it to come to a fair and equitable conclusion. Whereas we understand government isn't the answer to every dispute in the private sector, we have great interest in seeing this labor dispute concluded for the sake of the valley and our efforts in


The Northeast Ohio Legislative Delegation recognizes Forum Health as a vital part of our community. Further, we will assist in any capacity to keep the hospital in our community, caring for our sick and employing hundreds of doctors and nurses. We are sensitive to the issues the nurses bring to the table, and recognize that there is a national shortage of nurses pursuing careers administering bedside care. We stand ready to assist both sides to

come to an amicable compromise.


State Rep. Charles

State Rep. John Boccieri

State Rep. Ken Carano

State Rep. Tim Grendell

State Rep. Anthony Latell

State Rep. Sylvester Patton

State Rep. Dan Sferra

State Senator Tim Ryan

State Senator Robert Hagan

State Senator Greg DiDonato "



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From the striking nurses to their community:

"Just the facts:

Patient care is being compromised in our hospitals today because not enough nurses are on staff or on duty to provide the safe care you expect to receive and we expect to deliver......

The State of Ohio licensed 130,000 registered nurses in 2000, MORE THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME! However, fewer and fewer nurses are choosing to work at the bedside as a result of the poor working conditions, i.e., Mandatory overtime, not enough staff, no respect..........

Forum Health has replaced skilled competent nurses with temporary caregivers, more commonly called scabs. These people are Professional Strike Breakers. They come from across the country and are not loyal to this hospital or to this community............

Forum Health nurses are stri8king to improve patient care. They are striking to prohibit mandatory overtime so a nurse who works twelve hours doesn't have to stay an additional four. They are striking to improve work conditions and demand respect so Forum Health can attract qualified skilled registered nurses to work at your bedside. They are striking to protect you and your loved ones.........

Please take action and help the nurses of Forum Health get back to helping you.........

Thank you.

The nurses of the YGDNA working at Forum Health. "


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To the UAN nurses on strike in Youngstown from the Massachusetts NA nurses on strike in Brockton:

"Dear YGDNA Nurses:

I wanted to e-mail your courageous nurses in Youngstown to thank them wholeheartedly for their letters of support as we also embark on our strike against Brockton Hospital in Brockton, MA. Seeing our concerns echoed throughout this great land has strengthened us beyond our wildest dreams. We thank you all and will forever fight for our patients rights to safe and quality health care ...

we are with you in spirit ... God bless and keep you on the path to victory.

Julie Connors, RN, ER

Brockton Hospital

Brockton, MA



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to the Forum hospital administration that is keeping its nurses on strike in Youngstown, OH:

"Dear Mr. Steen:

On behalf of the greater Youngstown labor community, I would like to encourage you to redouble your efforts to settle the Nurses Association contract at Northside Medical Center. It is in the best interests of your patients, the medical center, the community and all nursing professionals involved in this dispute to come to terms agreeable to both parties. This can only be done at the bargaining table, and we urge you to keep working for a solution.

We would also like to mention that bringing in replacement workers does not lead to a harmonious bargaining atmosphere. Although patient care is of paramount importance, there also ought to be a way to reach resolution without endangering the good will and welfare of the loyal employees.

If Greater Youngstown AFL-CIO Council can be of any assistance at all, please contact me. We are very interested in how these negotiations proceed and in their outcome.


Larry Fauver, President

Greater Youngstown AFL-CIO Council "



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a sample of the support sent to the Ohio Nurses Association nurses from fellow UAN associations:

From Kentucky:

"Dear Ms. Lambert:

I was sorry to hear that the Western Reserve Care System/Forum Health administration failed to negotiate a fair contract with the nurses in that facility. I am proud to hear that the nurses are standing up for such a vitally important issues as health and safety, mandatory (forced) overtime, and patient care, as well as issues such as wages and pensions that ensure high quality professionals continue to be attracted to nursing.........

The leadership that these committed ONA nurses are providing is inspirational in our nationwide effort to create comprehensive contracts that provide quality workplace for our nurses as well as a safe and strong helathcare facility for our patients..........

Keep up the incredible work, and best wishes on a successful resolution to the contract......


Camille Soleil, JD

Director of Labor Relations

Kentucky Nurses Association


From Illinois:

Dear Bonnie:

On behalf of the Illinois Nurses Association, I want to extend our support of YGDNA in your efforts to assure safe staffing for the citizens of Youngstown and Mahoning County........

Many of our members know the sacrifice that your members are making. We wish you a speedy and successful resolution........


Carol A. Jenkins, MS, RN, CAE

Interim Executive Director

Illinois Nurses Association



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from the striking nurses to their community:


On Strike.......

Registered Nurses members of the Ohio Nurses Association, and its affiliate, the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association (YGDNA) went on strike at Western Reserve Care System/Forum Health located in Youngstown Ohio May 1, 2001 at 3:30 p.m........

There are 771 Registered Nurses members in the bargaining unit. Bonnie Lambert, President of the YGDNA said, "Youngstown Nurses would rather fight than quit. We are fighting for our patients, our families, our lives and our profession. We have tried to negotiate an agreement that will attract and retain registered nurses; however, many issues remain unresolved." Two of the most important practice issues involve safe staffing and the elimination of mandatory overtime. The Ohio Nurses Association and the Medical Center are also far apart on wages and benefits. A mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has been involved in the negotiations for several weeks.

Companies refusing to cross our picket line:





Nickel's Bakery

Wonder Bread





Area Florists

Papa John's .......

The Youngstown General Duty Nurses on strike would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for their generous support:

Pizza Joes

Pizza Joes - Boardman

Joe's Restaurant

Ron Verb

Beverage House

Pizza Outlet

Mary Jo Onder

Jennifer Branlett

Massage Therapy Center

Dr. Purary

Jody Vasey

Dr. Anonymous

Brenda Newlin Globeck

Ralph Globeck

Cafaro Company

Mocha House

Inner Circle

Sherry Cox

Bev - 2 West

Ohio Nurses Association (ONA)

Ohio Nurses Employee Association (ONEA)

United American Nurses (UAN) (The Union Arm of ANA)

Neighbor from hospital

Dr. Jamison

Teacher's Union

Teamster's Local 377


Sparkle Market -Union Square

Ron Bann



Rose Pasture, RN

Papa Johns Pizza

Dr. Thomas

Mother/Baby Unit


Nurses from St. E's

Local PEP #4

Local 64

Diane Wells - Sheetz (Girard)

Martha Eicher - CRNA

Dallas Hartman PC


Alex & Pat DiGiacomo

Cora Barthy & Willo Ferro

Alltel Boardman Office

John Lammerding

Magic Mocha Machine

Virginia O'Hare

Dr. Fred Kurz


Betsy Waid

Car Team Boardman Firefighters

Struthers High School

Gary Reel

Phyllis Simon

Pediatric Oncology - Holly

Gail Halstead

John Gordon & UAW

Judy Stanfer

Dr. Soltis

Leonard Lucas, Melodies & Memories

Gabe Kramer & Staff SEIU 1199

Bill Detchon

Ray & Rose Ferrando

Tim & Judy McPhillips


Greg Johnson - Song & Music

Sherwin Williams - Austintown

Poland Giant Eagle

Elmtree Catering

Tastee Bakery

Natasha Wright

Dorris D'Errico

Gobel's Autobody & Towing

Pepsi Co. - Rodger King

Susan Savustuk

Dr. Meyers

Army Recruiters - Eric & Jay

Dr. Marina

Shirley Ann & Gerald Schultz

Darlene Tofil

Joan Leslie

Pasquales Pizza

Joann Ford

Kinko's - Nar

Staples - Ben & Paul

AFSCME - Retirees sub chapter

Leonard Stanfer

Randy @ Parkview Counseling

U.S. Air Force

Jan Foley & Family

Mrs. Julius - YSU Faculty

Mary Ann Lloyd

Debbie Shane

Faith Mrofchak

Vera West

Jody Vasey

Anne Traveline

Westside Bakery

Frattarolli Sparkle

Ron Evans

Jeanne Barker

Lois Gessner


Becky Hook

Eric Jacobs


Teachers of Cardinal Mooney High School

Dr. Banks

Northside Security

Great Harvest Bread Co.

Asst. Mgr. Dave @ Sprarkle

Dr. Escobar

Dr. Anonymous

Donna Crchedi

Bill Fisher

Gloria Longue

ATC Healthcare

Candy Fatimus

Hillside Rehab Nurses

CWA 4300

Prof. Practice Unit St. Vincent's

Medical Resident

Union 1372


Gene Root

Sarah Root

1199 Parkview Counciling

St. E's Pacu & OR

Mike Basista

Massage Therapy Center

Big Daddy Revue

May Varley

Inner Circle


Jeff Jarrett (Johnson & Johnson)

John Centofanti (Ross Labs)

Franchescisos Restaurant

Robin Marr

Acme Steak (Tony Tringhese)

Annonymous - Candy Bars

Dr. Yoon

Linda Glob

Westside Bakery

Linda Glock

Jack E. Fateley Jr.

Nancy Dieger

Dr. Banks

Amy Welmeyer

Donna Glydura

Dr. Cohen

Beverage House

John Lammerding - Archway

Virginia O'Hare

Med.. Employees Credit Union

Inner Circle Pizza

Papa John's Pizza

Dr. Terri Rich

Bev Bretscheider in memory of her son Ryan

SEIU 1199

Beth & Keith Showman

Bridget @ Spinners Sub Shop

Irish Bob's Pub

Donna Kennedy (UAN)

Bell Detchon

Pizz Outlet

Nurses From Gary Indiana

Mary Ellen Patton

Leila & Ray Leclerc

Taste-n-Tell Bakery



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From the Youngstown City Council, June 20, 2001:



WHEREAS, Youngstown City Council support the rights and needs of the nurses of Forum Health's North Side Hospital in their effort to reach a new contract agreement that will ensure the proper delivery of care to patients in a safe, respectable and professional manner; and .......

WHEREAS, City Council supports the issues of the nurses being addressed through their collective bargaining agreement, and hope for a quick and immediate end to this labor dispute; and ...........

WHEREAS, Youngstown City Council supports the hospital for being a vital part of our community and remaining a profitable organization; and ...........

WHEREAS, Youngstown City Council encourages both parties to negotiate an agreement that is beneficial to both sides as well as the Greater Youngstown Community........


That the Council of the City of Youngstown, Ohio hereby supports the nurses of Forum Health North Side Hospital in their efforts to reach an agreement .........


That the Clerk of Council is hereby instructed to forward a copy of this resolution to individuals as designated by Council.

Signed and sealed........



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Youngstown Ohio nurses strike - day 81 & counting........ for safe staffing , safe working hours & recruitment/retention.......

Other unions are showing up on the picket line to show their support for the nurses.........

"We Support Our Nurses" ribbons are being worn in support of the strike and people in the community are also wearing them to show their support for the nurses........

Donations are being made to the YGDNA strike fund to help our nurses.......

The picket line is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

- in 2 hours shifts so nurses can walk the line and also obtain work hrs elswewhere.

- Each shift begins on the even hour.............

Job opportunities are posted at the Strike Headquarters........

RN Testimony -

"I am one of the nurses striking @ Forum. The hospital would have everyone believe they value their nurses, as well as attempted to negotiate in good faith to avert, then resolve the strike. Trust me, they did neither. All negotiations up till recently were mean spirited and without good faith. For example, in the early days of the strike instead of meeting as agreed, the management FAXED the same proposal to the meeting

place with the "take it or leave it" contempt they have always shown. If they were ever truly concerned about their nurses or patients instead of their wallets they would have taken steps to fix the mandatory overtime situation when it started . To add injury to insult, Forum demanded CONCESSIONS in their proposals. HELLO! There is a nursing shortage! What part about "supply and demand" does Forum management not understand? Trust me, when the area

was laying off RN's in 1995 and the supply exceeded the demand, we had to make concessions. Now is the most ridiculous time to ask for them! Any RN who has wanted to work has easily done so. We will stay out as long as it takes........"



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"The Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association (YGDNA) is the local bargaining unit representing area nurses employed by Western Reserve Health Care: including Northside Southside, Tods and Beeghly Same Day Care and Beeghly Emergency. YGDNA is an aspect of District III of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) which is a constituent of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and a member of the United American Nurses (UAN). ANA is the national organization comprised of Registered Nurses across the country and the UAN is its labor arm - consisting of 23 state associations, the nurse's associations of Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands - with a membership of 100,000 RNs.

Strike Info - teams & picket schedules - see how its done- "

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