Temple University Hospital nurses and health care workers rally ahead of union negotiations

There's no strike yet, but unionized health care workers have voted overwhelmingly to walk off the job.

Katie Katro Image
Friday, October 14, 2022
Temple health care workers rally ahead of union negotiations
Temple University Hospital nurses, technical specialists, and professionals rallied outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University Hospital nurses, technical specialists, and professionals rallied outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday asking for safe staffing, among other things, as part of their union negotiations.

Unionized health care workers with Temple have voted overwhelmingly to walk off the job.

More than 2,200 nurses and other union employees authorized a strike by a 95-percent margin during Wednesday's vote.

For now they remain on the job, pending further negotiations.

The union representing the frontline workers - nurses, technical specialists, and professionals - is concerned about what they call unsafe staffing, workplace violence and limited resources.

"We have very reasonable offers on the table, chief among them a proposal that would ensure safe staffing in the hospital. That's what we want. That's what our patients want. That's what a hospital that cares about patient outcomes should want. Yet management has refused even to respond to our good-faith proposal regarding staffing," ICU nurse Mary Adamson, RN, president of the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association, said in a news release.

In a statement, Temple University Hospital said:

Bargaining is still ongoing, and we're working closely with the TAP and TUHNA unions to reach an agreement that allows us to keep doing what matters most: providing the highest-quality care to our patients. We are having thoughtful and respectful conversations and we look forward to continuing productive negotiations until we reach a contract conclusion. Our goal is to secure the region's best healthcare labor contracts for our team and for the patients we are committed to serving. Temple University Hospital has offered wage increases that would make our nurses the highest-paid of any of the region's academic medical centers, and has also offered to make many of our allied professionals the highest-paid in many of the region's academic medical centers. We are hopeful of avoiding a strike by PASNAP but, as you would expect, we have processes in place to provide uninterrupted, safe, quality care to our patients regardless of what occurs.

"We know we can do better for the Philadelphia and North Philadelphia community that we serve, and we need the resources," said registered nurse Marty Harrison.

More than 2,000 nurses, technicians and others are represented by two unions: one for Temple University Hospital Nurses Association and Temple Allied Professionals.

Both unions have voted to authorize a strike if their concerns are not addressed.

"We need safe staffing at the bedside," said registered nurse and nurse's union president Mary Adamson.

"We need small things like safety, retention, wages and, most importantly, staffing for these nurses that keep people here," said Carlos Aviles, president of Temple Allied Professionals.

"We're tired of being short-staffed, we're tired of being stressed out," said telemetry technician Jonetta Daniels.

Inside the convention center, the American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet Conference was being held for nursing excellence.

"We're here to celebrate our practice, the camaraderie of being here with each other, but not to belittle what they believe their needs are," said Patricia Massey, who said she works at Pennsylvania Hospital.

"People are realizing that they're more valuable - that's what it comes down to," said conference attendee Bryan Cumberledge, who said he works at UCHealth in Denver, Colorado.

There's no strike notice at this time.

There are two bargaining negotiation days scheduled with the hospital next week.