Mercy Health nurses to vote on new contract following strike

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Nurses at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center are set to vote on a new contract Monday and Tuesday following weeks on the picket line. The strike officially ended on Wednesday of last week after the union announced a tentative agreement with the hospital, but nurses had not yet been informed of the details of that deal.

Those nurses were able to participate in three informational meetings on Friday and Saturday. Now the deal faces a ratification vote.

The nurses union originally went on strike to protest against what they called unfair overtime and on-call policies, as well as concerns over employee healthcare. According to a union spokesperson, the deal includes pay raises, a 15% reduction in on-call times over a period of a year and a half, and caps their out of pocket healthcare expenses.

In a video posted to Facebook late last week, union director Rich Rankin said they sent the nurses back to work before the ratification vote in order to save their jobs, claiming the hospital was planning to replace the striking nurses permanently at the end of the week. Mercy Health responded to that statement by saying the hospital was hiring new nurses in order to cut back on on call hours.

The hospital has said that the contract offered to nurses was the same as one offered previously. Union leadership, however, says there have been "significant improvements."