Union representing Mercy Health St. Vincent Hospital nurses, support staff goes on strike

Published: May. 6, 2019 at 7:05 PM EDT
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Nine months, 58 meetings and no resolution: Now 2,200 unionized Mercy Health workers are on strike after weekend negotiations between St. Vincent Medical Center and its employees broke down.

"We don't feel valued," UAW Local 2213 president Susan Pratt said.

In the final hours before the picket line, union membership, state, county and city representatives urged Mercy Health to draft what they call a fair and reasonable contract.

"We aren't going to rest until we get a contract that's good for the patients and the workers in the hospital," UAW Region 2-B director Rich Rankin said.

"Our voice to you, Mercy--get this thing done," Lucas County commissioner Pete Gerken added.

For many employees it came down to a handful of items, ranging from health care costs, to changes to overtime policies and control over on-call schedules. They're issues the unions say are essential for them to do their jobs.

"We need to have the tools to ensure that we can take care of everybody because they are our family," Pratt said.

Pratt says the road to strike has been anything but smooth. In fact she describes it as an emotional roller coaster.

"It's hard," Pratt said. "It's extremely hard because we care about what we do, and we're being put into a very awkward position."

"No one wants to go on strike," service unit chairman Pete Miller said. "They can't afford to go on strike, so you've got to do what you've got to do."

Now with no deal in sight the stalemate continues and so does the support.

"These are our nurses, "Gerken said. "This strike isn't so much about their benefit and ours as it is for successful patient care."

"I'm shocked that we're to this point, I really am," Pratt added.

13abc wants to mention that this strike not only affect nurses, but also hospital technicians, receptionists, dietary workers and surgery technicians.