LANGHORNE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia says it has reached a tentative agreement with it’s 1,000 unionized nurses, averting a strike. But another nurses strike is in effect.
“After months of good faith negotiations, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia and PASNAP have reached tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement for approximately 1,100 nurses at our hospital,” the medical center said in a statement.
But on Tuesday morning, around 800 members of PASNAP, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professional, at St. Mary Medical Center In Langhorne, Bucks County started staging a two-day walkout.
The issues in both cases are safe staffing and wages.
Maureen May, president of PASNAP, says St. Mary and its parent company, Trinity Health, are not addressing either issue.
“In order to have safe staffing, you need to provide the nurses the care at the bedside. In order to have the number of nurses needed at the bedside, you need to have proper compensation, so it’s one big package,” she explained.
Bill Engle, who has been a nurse at St. Mary for 15 years, says nurses are dedicated to serving their patients.
“We live here, we work here, we see these people on the streets. This is personal to us. We keep bleeding staff because they (Trinity Health) came right out and said themselves over the course of our bargaining that we are 15 years behind in salary,” Engle said.
He said many nurses leave for other medical centers that pay up to $7 more.
Trinity Health says although the nurses are striking for two days, it will take five days for the hospital to ramp up its staff with replacement nurses.
“If it's gonna take them five days, it’s a lock out. I have been on strike in the past, and you go back and you hit the ground running, just like we hit the ground running when the COVID came,” May responded.
May hopes the community understands the goal of the two-day strike.
“We send the message to the public that their safety is at risk when you don’t have the proper number of nurses to take care of the patients,” she said.
May says it’s possible there could be another strike, but she wants to wait and see what happens with this strike first.
Trinity Health says it is ready to resume negotiations when the strike is over.