Nurses return to Temple U. Hospital

    After nearly a month on strike, nurses at Temple University Hospital are due back on the job Friday.

    After nearly a month on strike, nurses at Temple University Hospital are due back on the job today.

    The agreement between Temple management and the nurses union includes compromises on health insurance costs and a tuition reimbursement. But union officials say Temple managers removed many unwanted provisions from the hospital’s “Last and Final” offer.

    Maureen May is president of the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association. She’s hoping union members and managers can put the strike behind them.

    May: There may be some difficulty but we know that we stood up for the patients and our families and for the labor force. One of the reasons that we needed to make this job action happen is that we needed to change the relationship.

    The nurses and allied health professionals will get raises in coming years, but many will pay more for health insurance.

    Workers will also hold on to a tuition benefit for children, and other dependents who attend Temple University, but the reimbursement it less generous than is was in the past.

    The wrangling between the union and Temple may continue for some time.

    Bill Cruice is a lead negotiator for the nurses union. He says Temple withheld a promised tuition reimbursement benefit from workers even after the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board told the hospital to reinstate the benefit.

    Cruice: We believe that that converted the strike into a lockout. Where it stands right now is that the Unemployment Compensation Review Board is still looking at the issue and they should make an initial determination within the week.

    A hospital spokeswoman says Temple managers consider the work-stoppage a strike — not a lockout — and they don’t believe the nurses are eligible for unemployment compensation.

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