No Resolution for Nurses as East Liverpool City Hospital Continues to Put Profits Over Patients
Nurses continue to fight for a fair agreement, grateful for community support
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — The Ohio Nurses Association members at East Liverpool City Hospital/Prime Healthcare put their best foot forward earlier today with a new offer that the hospital failed to even address. This bargaining session is the first meeting of the two parties since their last session November 17th, though the nurses have pushed to return to the table since that date, even offering to postpone their November 21st – 24th strike in the hopes of reaching an agreement. Unfortunately, the hospital rejected the offer in November and is continuing to say no to the nurses, and East Liverpool patients, today, despite the fact the nurses made a good faith effort for a resolution.
The hospital’s failure to address the nurses’ offer is a reversal of statements made by CEO Keith Richardson of a few weeks ago. He told media, “We hope that we can sit down with them soon so we can finish negotiations.” The nurses are disappointed in Richardson’s insincerity and stress the importance and their continued willingness to reach a fair agreement that addresses the nurse staffing crisis at East Liverpool City Hospital.
“The hospital must realize that our community deserves better. The more patients added to my workload because of unsafe and short staffing, the less attention and care each of those patients are receiving. I guarantee that Prime Health administrators would not want their loved ones’ nurse running from room to room, exhausted and just trying to stay afloat. They would want their loved ones’ nurse to provide maximum quality care. It just shows that Prime Health doesn’t care about our community, and only about padding their pockets. They must have a change of heart, and we are ready to go back to the bargaining table to reach a fair agreement when they do,” stated Lori Bruce, the local nurse president.
According to data provided by the hospital, there is a 22% registered nurse (RN) vacancy rate, with 36 RN vacancies out of an RN workforce that should total approximately 160. One of those vacancies comes as a result of Brady Winland’s recent resignation:
“Unfortunately, there are multiple reasons that led up to my difficult decision to resign from the East Liverpool City Hospital. As a registered nurse, I care about the community, my patients, and my fellow healthcare workers and have always wanted to give my very best care. Throughout my time at the hospital, I have seen these simple goals made harder to almost impossible by inadequate staffing and unavoidable burnout. The week leading up to my resignation, we were being asked to help for shifts 24-36 hours in advance and nurses were finding themselves with the highest nurse-to-patient ratios they’ve ever seen.”
Winland continued, “Although I worked for the hospital, I always practice under my own nursing license. Nurses have the right to practice in environments that allow them to act in accordance with professional standards and legally authorized scopes of practice. And the right to a work environment that is safe for ourselves and for our patients. I was witnessing nursing rights being stretched to the limits and being put in situations that leave the nurse vulnerable to career-ending repercussions and that ultimately led to my untimely departure from East Liverpool City Hospital.”
The nurses continue to be grateful for the community’s outpouring of support, including city council’s unanimous vote of support for the nurses at their December 7th meeting.
The nurses’ contract expired November 21, 2020. This was the second contract extension, with previous expiration dates in June and mid-October.