Nurses OK new contract

YOUNGSTOWN – Registered nurses at Northside Medical Center on Wednesday ratified a one-year agreement that will provide approximately 370 registered nurses across-the-board raises of at least 2 1/2 percent.

Some nurses whose salaries have been frozen under the old salary scale for up to seven years will earn significantly higher increases as their pay scales will move up to where they would have been if the freeze had not been in place.

“The wage scale will be going forward,” said Eric Williams, the president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association. “About half of our nurses at some point were affected by the freeze.”

In addition to the salary concerns, the contract addressed issues of nurses being able to advocate for patient care, staffing levels and scheduling issues.

Efforts to get a reaction to the vote of the nurse’s union from ValleyCare Systems were not successful Wednesday night.

The nurses have been working without a contract since July 2012.

“We were hoping for a multi-year contract,” Williams said. “We resolved all of the issues between the nurses and the employer.”

Voting took place in three sessions Wednesday at the Teamsters Local 377 offices Youngstown. Williams there was high turnout among union members. Results of voting were released just before 10 p.m.

Nurses conducted a one-day strike in September 2013 in protest of an impasse at the bargaining table. Replacement nurses were brought in, and some nurses were turned away the next week and barred from working for up to a week.

Shortly after the strike, the hospital announced layoffs across all departments in the hospital, of which four were nursing positions.