An informational protest by nearly 125 ACMH technicians and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) at the beginning of the month initially led to some progressive bargaining, but things have since changed course.
Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union officials announced yesterday that a one-day strike over unfair labor practices and ongoing bargaining issues has been scheduled to begin at 7AM Tuesday, March 31.
According to union officials, hospital administrators have informed union representatives that they intend to lock out staff for two additional days – causing the union to pursue charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
The technicians and LPNs voted overwhelmingly to join the union in June, and have had 25 bargaining sessions with hospital administrators since August.
The informational picket March 4 at the hospital entrance and close to the emergency room doors led both sides to ‘return to the table’ twice – including just a few days later – , but ACMH officials have reportedly refused to negotiate any improvements to staffing – the issue at the center of union members’ concerns.
Union Co-President Angelique Richards said earlier this month after the first of the two bargaining sessions that staff members have “a huge community support.”
“When someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder doesn’t get their treatments, they slowly suffocate,” Richards, a respiratory therapist, said in a news release. “That wouldn’t happen if they were getting the treatments that the doctors have ordered.
How am I supposed to choose between which patient gets a treatment when I’m too short staffed to care for all of my patients? I’m not God. How am I supposed to make a decision in a dangerous situation like this?”