Nurses union at Jeanes Campus Hospital to hold strike vote on Thursday

Jeanes Nurses United announced a strike vote for Thursday after negotiations with Temple Health failed to address their staffing, safety and wage concerns.

Jeannes Nurses United have announced a strike vote following concerns over safety and wages. | WILL KIRKPATRICK / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Jeanes Nurses United, the union of 375 nurses at Temple University Hospital’s Jeanes Campus, announced Monday it will be holding a strike vote on Thursday after its latest negotiation with Temple Health on Feb. 23.

The union has been negotiating with Temple about concerns regarding staffing shortages, unsafe working conditions and lack of wage increases since Sept. 8, after their initial three-year contract ended on Nov. 7. 

If the union members vote to authorize the strike, the union will give the hospital a 10-day notice to ensure Jeanes Campus remains staffed.

“Nobody wants to go on strike,” Angela Cleghorn, co-president of Jeanes Nurses United, told The Temple News. “But people will strike because this – it’s just not acceptable. It’s not acceptable to say, ‘We’re not going to talk about staffing,’ when you’re dealing with human lives. It’s not okay.”

Cleghorn said Temple Health implied during their negotiations on Jan 26. that the next negotiation on Feb. 16 would be the last one. The union then delivered a strike petition to Temple management on Feb. 14 signed by 96 percent of its members to convey its willingness to strike if its demands were not met.

Another negotiation date was confirmed for Feb. 23, but after seeing no progress with its demands again, the union decided to announce the strike vote, Cleghorn said.

The union has concerns about its “nurse-to-patient” ratio, the amount of patients assigned to one nurse, which it says affects nurses’ rates of burnout and the hospital’s mortality rate. The group is also demanding better security, like weapon screening or a detection system.

“Our security is very limited,” Cleghorn said. “There have been workplace violence incidents. Nurses do not feel safe and at times patients haven’t [either].”

The union also says Jeanes Campus is “far below” the Temple wage scale compared to its other hospitals and has been countering the negotiation team on the subject for the past few months.

Temple Health declined The Temple News’ request for comment.

Last year Temple Health saw almost 900 workers from two Temple Hospitals unionize and join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, which Jeanes Nurses United is also a part of.

The Jeanes Campus’s technical specialists also unionized under PASNAP in early February this year.

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