The hospital says "open and honest dialogue" will do more to advance the goals than "a strike threat."
LANGHORNE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Nurses at St. Mary Medical Center in Bucks County have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike.
The nurses' union said Thursday the hospital's owner has refused to agree to minimum safe staffing levels.
The union's Bargaining Committee could now submit a 10-day strike notice to the hospital if they deem it necessary.
The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP), which represents 8,500 nurses and healthcare professionals across the state, approximately 800 of them work at St. Mary, said 85 percent of the nurses voted in favor of the authorization.
The union said the nurses have been bargaining with hospital management for a first contract since last October.
Union officials said the hospital's committee left the last scheduled and agreed-upon negotiating session with the nurses an hour and 25 minutes early, "despite the nurses' desire to continue the conversation on enhanced patient protections."
St. Mary Medical Center, part of Trinity Health, released the following statement to Action News:
St. Mary remains steadfastly committed to negotiating in good faith with PASNAP to make sure we arrive at an initial contract for our nurses that is fair to all and sustainable. We have stated before and still believe that continuing to have an open and honest dialogue as we continue negotiations will do more to advance that goal for both our nurses and St. Mary than a strike, or a strike threat, will. St. Mary has always been and continues to be committed to patient and employee safety and ensuring appropriate staffing in line with applicable standards. We have arrangements in place to ensure the safety of all patients, colleagues and visitors should there be a strike.
The St. Mary nurses joined PASNAP in August 2019.