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Nurses stage informational picket at Youngstown hospital

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -Nurses, their families, and other unions walked an informational picket outside Northside Hospital Saturday.

Members of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association say terms of a new contract proposal could silence their voices they say are needed to advocate for patient care.

"We are your advocate we are at the bed side 24-7, so we have to have the ability to speak up if we believe that there is something impacting your care in a negative way. We have to have the right and ability and ears that will listen for your safety.", said Joyce Shaffer, YGDNA Vice President.

Union President Eric Williams says about 480 nurses who are members of the Ohio General Duty Nurses Association and the Ohio Nurses Association have been without a contract for 14 months. He adds additional contract language sought could send a nurse home without any reason. at any time, and want to remove the wage scale from the collective bargaining unit.

"We're not going to jeopardize patient care and put nurses voices at risk. In any negotiation economics are an issue, but they are not the prevailing issue that is keeping us from reaching an agreement.", said Williams.

The union has authority to call a strike if it believes it is necessary. Negotiations are set for September 11 for four hours.

Pastor Tarone Claybrook of Victory Christian Center  came to pray with the nurses, He's calling on all in the community to pray for a resolution that protects patients, workers, and the hospital's mission.  

"Right now were kind of at a crossroads. We need to come over this bridge so everyone needs to pray for a proper resolution.", said Pastor Claybrook.

Northside Medical Center released a statement saying it's top priority is care and safety of their patients and employees.

The statement says that  the Ohio Nurses Association is the only bargaining unit within Valley Care that has not reached an agreement and that  all other bargaining units have ratified agreements that mirror the proposal offered to the nurses.

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