Crozer-Chester Medical Center nurses go on strike

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Hundreds of nurses from Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Delaware County went on strike Sunday. (WPVI)

The nurses from Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Delaware County went on strike Sunday.

550 nurses walked off the job at 7:00 a.m. Sunday. They've been working without a contract since June 8th.

The union says this strike is not really about the money. Their main concern is staffing levels - they want more nurses working to cover patients' needs.

"It's become unsafe, as far as taking care of the patients. There's not enough nurses and people at the bedside," said Bobbi McClay, R.N.

"This is not something we wanted to do, this is something we had to do because frankly they aren't listening to what we tell them about the care," said Chris Beattie, R.N.

However the hospital maintains that staffing is fine and the real issue is the need to cut some nurses salaries, due to financial challenges.

"Crozer spends more for nursing staffing than any comparably sized hospital in this region. Our staffing levels are actually above national averages and sometimes in the top third," said Grant Gegwich, hospital spokesperson.

In response to the strike, Crozer-Keystone released the following statement late Sunday morning:

We are disappointed that the Union has taken this action. We do not believe the threat of the strike was necessary or helpful to the bargaining process.

Nevertheless, Crozer-Keystone has been preparing for the possibility of a strike for several months. A contingency staffing plan is in place. Licensed, certified, experienced, and well-trained nurses will provide care for patients and their families at Crozer throughout a strike of any duration.

Despite the strike, we want to assure the community that hospital services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center will be open and available to patients and their families. This includes Emergency Department, operating rooms, critical care and medical surgical units, pediatrics, psychiatry and home care services. The nurses who will staff these and other specialty units have specific experience and training in those specialties.

Gegwich says the hospital is operating at normal levels, thanks to the efforts of replacement nurses, who have been hired for at least five days.

That comes although the regular nurses say they only planned to strike for two days.

"All our services are opened. We are opened for business, we are accepting new patients and everything is running very smoothly," said Gegwich.

However Action News obtained an email from Assistant Chief Lawrence Worrilow of the Crozer Keystone Health System EMS directing ambulance drivers transport all patients to Taylor Hospital's Emergency Department "unless the patient/family demand(s) to be transported to Crozer."

Gegwich says only two patients were transported to Taylor Hospital and maintains "all services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center are open for business, including emergency services."

The union has scheduled a rally for 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Both sides are set to get back to the negotiating table on Tuesday.
Related Topics:
labor unionsstrikepa. newshospitalUpland Borough
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