UAW says ending strike was move to save jobs

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The union representing nurses that had been on strike from St. Vincent Medical Center for more than a month is saying they sent members back to work in order to save their jobs.

In a video posted to Facebook, Director Rich Rankin claims that Mercy Health was going to begin replacing nurses Friday at 5 p.m.

"We felt that getting the striking nurses back into the hospital to go to work would be the best way to protect their jobs and protect them from being permanently replaced."

When the deal was announced yesterday, Mercy Health issued a statement saying it was the same contract the hospital had offered in the past.

Rankin says that wasn't true. "There have been several changes that we believe made significant improvement to some of the language needed to get people back to work."

There apparently was some sort of miscommunication with the Local 2213 bargaining committee as well, with Rankin saying the group had been shown the changes prior to meeting with the rest of the union, and had agreed to support the tentative contract.

When asked for comment, Mercy Health provided this statement:

Mercy Health has been actively hiring qualified and compassionate nurses to fill vacancies at St. Vincent Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. Given our growing patient needs and nursing opportunities, we continue to recruit to ensure that we fulfill our Mission of caring for those in need.

Mercy Health is currently implementing plans to reduce on-call hours – including hiring in those areas most impacted. We will continue to welcome our nurses back to work as well as new members to our ministry.

Rankin also advised nurses to return to work when contacted by a manager, saying they would be covered by the current bargaining agreement.

The union has also added a third information meeting on Friday at 8 p.m. to go with the two Saturday meetings at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.