Nurses and Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital reach deal, averting a strike

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital (Google Maps)

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital (Google Maps)

Nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Delaware County have reached a deal with Trinity Health System, the Michigan-based owner of the hospital, to avert a strike.

The agreement comes just days before the 260 nurses planned to walk out over what they said were unsafe staffing arrangements on the hospital floor.

The new contract, which was ratified by the union on Thursday, increases the number of nurses who are on call in the case of patient surges, and ensures that there are always staff specifically assigned to transport patients so that nurses don’t have to leave the bedside to do so. It also offers a minimum 3% annual wage increase for the first three years of the contract and 4% for the final year, which nurses say will improve staff retention.

“Nurses and health care professionals have selflessly sacrificed during the COVID-19 pandemic at great personal risk to themselves,” said Maureen May,  president of the Pennsylvania Association of Skilled Nurses and Allied Professionals, the union that represents more than 8,000 nurses across the state, including those at Mercy Fitzgerald.

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“In the positive resolution of this contract fight on the cusp of a vicious surge of the virus, the needs of our frontline workers have been respected and their patient communities are further protected. We are thrilled,” May said.

The nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald had been negotiating their first contract since Trinity took over the hospital in 2018.

Trinity also owns St. Mary Medical Center in Bucks County, where the union representing 800 nurses also gave its required 10-day notice of strike last week. Those negotiations are ongoing, and the nurses plan to picket Tuesday if no deal is reached.

Nurses at two Philadelphia hospitals, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Einstein Medical Center, have also voted to authorize a strike.

Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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