EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – A Columbiana County hospital is facing a nurses’ strike during the pandemic.
At East Liverpool City Hospital, 130 nurses are walking out.
Starting Saturday morning at 7 a.m., nurses began their strike.
Their current contract ran out at midnight on Friday.
Union representatives from the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) say they have filed charges against the hospital with the National Labor Relations Board.
The ONA says the hospital is refusing to give them information they are required by law to supply. Without that information, they say they cannot move forward with negotiations.
“The employer is bargaining in bad faith, not providing the information that we’ve requested, refusal to provide some of the information requested. The threat of regressive bargaining because we did not take their offer. The bottom line is in order for us to effectively negotiate a contract, we have to have certain information. The employer is obligated to provide that information and we haven’t got all the information,” said Bob Cousins, with the ONA.
This is a limited duration strike. It is set to expire on Monday at 7 a.m.
The union says they have extended the current contract twice already because of the pandemic and they want to extend the current contract another two weeks to hash out details and come to a compromise.
But, the ONA alleges the hospital refuses to come back to the bargaining table.
Representatives from East Liverpool City Hospital say the offer they made was fair.
Still, the hospital says patient care is their top priority, so they have brought in enough contract nurses to fill in.
East Liverpool City Hospital CEO Keith Richardson says he hopes the hospital and union can come to an agreement, but it won’t be Friday night.
“We hope that we can sit down with them soon so we can finish negotiations. But until then, once they walked out of the negotiations and told us that they planned to continue a strike, all of our attention has gone into making preparations to make sure we have the resources in place to make sure that our patients are taken care of,” he said.
The hospital says nurses at East Liverpool will return from their strike Tuesday at 7 a.m., but they will not be under contract. They will keep their current rate of pay and benefits.
Right now, it’s unclear when the union and hospital will be able to bargain again. Both sides say they haven’t picked a date.
We will continue to watch the situation and update you when we know more.