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Northside hospital nurses march one more time before lockout ends

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Youngstown General Duty Nurses march one last time early Thursday evening in front of Northside Medical Center.

Their one day strike on Tuesday extended into a lockout the rest of the week.

The hospital claims that it contracted with replacement nurses for a minimum commitment period of 72 hours. The word "commitment" written in a hospital memo had nurses like Joyce Shaffer fired up.

"They made a 72-hour commitment to these nurses.. scabs from out of town, when they have made no commitment whatsoever to the registered nurses of YGDNA.. Some of who have worked here for 20, 30, 40 years." said Shaffer.

Many nurses will go back to their shifts Friday, others on Monday and some, like Jennifer DiPietro in the Emergency Room, were able to go back as early as Thursday.

"It's a little intense working beside the replacement nurses, but we did fine." said DiPietro.

As they march, the nurses cross onto the hospital's campus and stood, chanting by the front doors.

Colleen Beil, a nurse of 33 years says, "That they realize we want to take care of our patients. This is our town. We're committed to good patient care and we would like them to respect us. Give us a contract that's livable. With safe patient staffing."

Roxanne Diaz, nurse of 10 years says their message this week has been effective.

"We just want to get this done with. We want a three year contract so we can have a stable work environment to be here. A stable environment for our patients so they can continue to come." said Diaz.

The latest release from Northside Medical Center is a letter signed by the doctors on the Medical Executive Committee. The memo points out that Northside as ranked among the top 5-percent of U.S. Hospitals and emphasizes the work Community Health Systems has done to restore and enhance the hospital. And they say they appreciate Northside's nurses who are their partners in care.

No word on when contract talks will resume.

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