Health care workers at Temple University Hospital vote to authorize a strike if contract negotiations sour

File photo: Nurses at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia picketed on Broad Street during negotiations of a 3-year contract to raise awareness about issues of recruiting, retention and pay disparity, on Sept. 23, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

File photo: Nurses at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia picketed on Broad Street during negotiations of a 3-year contract to raise awareness about issues of recruiting, retention and pay disparity, on Sept. 23, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Registered nurses, pharmacy technicians, dieticians, and other health care workers at Philadelphia’s largest general acute care hospital have set themselves up for a possible strike if union contract negotiations fail.

A majority of the 2,250 unionized employees at Temple University Hospital voted Wednesday to authorize 10-day strike notices at a future date.

Union members have been working without a contract since Sept. 30. Negotiations with hospital leadership on their next three-year contracts began in early August.

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Health care workers are represented by the Temple University Hospital Nurses Association and Temple Allied Professionals, both affiliates of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals.

Union leaders say in negotiations so far, the hospital has not sufficiently addressed their concerns regarding staffing levels, workplace violence, employee retention, and other resources for workers.

“We don’t get proposals that will help us keep the staff who are leaving in droves,” said Carlos Aviles, pharmacy technician and TAP union president, in a statement. “We get [Temple University Hospital] trying to operate for-profit in a nonprofit environment at the expense of its patients and its own caregivers.”

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Temple University Hospital is a nonprofit academic medical center. Temple Health officials say they will continue to meet with bargaining units in the hopes of reaching new contract agreements and avoiding a strike.

“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,” said hospital officials in a statement to WHYY.

In the event of a strike, hospital officials said they have processes in place to continue services and health care at their facilities.

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