Day 2: Nurse and support staff strike at St. Vincent continues

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - 2200 Mercy Health employees at St. Vincent Medical Center continue their stand at the picket line as their strike heads into its second day.

Union membership and the hospital are at odds over a contract - months in the making – with the key sticking points being stable benefits, on-call regulations, and over-time.

Family members of patients at the hospital tell 13abc they’ve seen a drop in service since the strike began.

"I was here when the nurses walked out at 4:30 and before they walked out they were wonderful. They came in and assured us that everything was going to be ok,” Shirley Parrott-Copus, whose father is a patient at St. Vincent. “Then this morning, I get woke up by the nurse asking where by dad was because she didn't know. She lost my dad!"

Parrott-Copus is a nurse as well, and sees the strike as part of a bigger picture for health care.

“I don't think they're only standing up for themselves. They're standing up for the nurses in northwest Ohio and the United States because the issues these nurses have go across the board everywhere you work,” Parrott-Copus said.

Mercy Health agrees things haven’t gone as smoothly as they would have liked, but lays at least part of the blame on those striking.

"The patient care has been disrupted somewhat, but that's been because of the patients rooms can hear the chanting and there was a lot of chaos yesterday,” Mercy Health chief of staff Dr. Greg Haselhuhn said at a news conference this afternoon. “Car horns are honking and we are trying to help people who are very sick heal and some of that activity has been very disruptive."

In preparation for the strike, the hospital closed some units simply as a precaution to make sure they had all the resources they needed to treat patients, and some of St. Vincent's sister hospitals in the Toledo area have stepped in to provide service.

Picketing is also happening at the Mercy Health St. Anne hospital.

Mercy Health had planned to take part in a Ohio Means Jobs health care panel today, but opted out, saying in a statement, “We are focused on taking care of our patients.”