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Striking Nurses Told Not To Return To Work Until Friday

WILKES-BARRE – Dozens of unionized registered nurses picketing at a one-day strike outside Wilkes-Barre General Hospital were told not to report to work until Friday morning.

Hospital officials said some registered nurses crossed the picket line and reported to work, but the nurses who decided to go on strike have been instructed not to return to work until 7 a.m. on Friday, even though they offered to return on Wednesday morning.

“The hospital must fulfill a commitment made to temporary, replacement registered nurses for a 72-hour period, which was required in order to secure competent, qualified nurses,” the hospital statement said.

The strike started at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

During a midday rally outside of the hospital, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals told Newswatch 16 that nurses were warned of the possibility of a lockout.

“They fly in these so-called strike breaking nurses from all over the country. A lot of places in the south, they pay them $80 an hour and they essentially want to get their money’s worth,” said Bill Cruice. “Not filling open positions, chronically understaffing other units, forcing nurses to work overtime in violation of state law. It’s all of these things that have combined together that have forced nurses to take this action.”

Fran Prusinski said she has worked at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for 29 years, and she has noticed that staffing levels and morale have gone down, after Commonwealth Health took control of the hospital.

“It breaks our hearts to be out here, but if we don`t stand up now for our patients and the community, we`re afraid of where it would lead,” said Prusinski. “It’s not fair to the nurses; it’s not fair to the patients. We’re losing nurses. Nurses will not stay in conditions like this. And we want to make sure that there is a nurse at our patient’s bedside.”

During the midday rally, Sharon Reilly told Newswatch 16 that she and her family from West Chester were concerned about the scheduled strike, because her father is being treated for a heart attack that he suffered during a trip, as he was traveling to go deer hunting in Susquehanna County.

“I was so nervous when I heard that there was going to be a strike. He`s in CCU so he`s getting really good care. I mean so far, it`s been okay,” said Reilly. “I can’t imagine what they’re feeling, it must be serious if they’re willing to go this far. I hope it gets resolved soon because I know my dad is going to be in here a while.”

Other people visiting patients in the hospital, including a man who did not want to be identified, told Newswatch 16 that the striking nurses are being greedy.

“They’re some of the highest paid and best paid people in the valley. By getting more and more and more, it’ll just raise the healthcare costs for us. I don’t know if anybody has any sympathy for them,” the man said.

13 comments

  • Jerry Hoover

    Just proves our point we are not appreciated we are disrespected thought of being greedy. I hope there comes a day that you are in need of a good nurse and then you will perhaps think twice of that remark you made.

  • Nikki

    My mom has been a nurse for 35+ years, first at Nesbitt then at WBGH. She is worked to the bone, often times not even getting 5 minutes to sit and eat dinner. They are severely understaffed many days and extremely underpaid for what they do. I moved out of the area 10 years ago, and I now live outside of Philly. I have several friends who are nurses here and they are getting paid 2x what the nurses back home are getting paid, so to the gentleman who said they are being greedy, you are nothing but an uninformed coward. I hope karma pays you a visit very soon :) It’s a slap in the face to be told your healthcare costs are going through the roof then only being offered a less than 1% raise! I’m sorry the nurses are going through this, but I support each and every one of them 110%!

  • Toni

    I teach college chemistry to nurses. These men and women are the hardest working students I have. When they complete their degrees and pass the boards, they continue to work hard and long. Nurses have earned every cent we can give them. Ladies and gentlemen, you have my admiration and support.

  • Brian

    I also am an RN not associated with this facility. I think that to say the nurses are greedy is a quick judgment. how about the teachers that didn’t want to pay for health insurance? you do realize most nurses do. we work hard all year and also have the large responsibility of caring for loved ones. we carry malpractice insurance and are available targets of litigation. can you really call nurses greedy?

    • chas

      I agree my wife is a Lpn not associated with the is facility nurses in General are over worked and underpaid she comes home exhausted. Facilities like this are for profit and that is the bottom line as far as school teachers don’t get me started I know several that are greedy getting paid 95k a year take a job away from someone else in the summer as well.

  • Dean John Wychulis

    I am also a Nurse. Standing in full support if my fellow striking Nurses. Stand strong for your patients and yourselves. I do not work at WBGH but I fully understand what they are going through. My prayers and thoughts go with you.

    Serenity Prayer
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

  • Donna

    I would just like to say that I don’t work at the WBGH, but am a nurse. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was 3 years old. I have been a nurse for 33 years and it is the most honorable and least rewarding position in life. I work holidays, weekends, and odd tours. Tell the coward that had his back turned to cameras and the one that called nurses greedy that we are the ones that sit with their loved ones when they are dying because many of them don’t come until they have expired. I missed many of my child’s growing up because I was a nurse. He understood that. You don’t. You also blame nurses for cost in your Medicare or insurances. That is not true, it is the technology that has kept you alive this far. If you want more technology, then yes you will pay for those that are trained to work with these life saving machines. What do you say to your doctors??? The nurses run the show. If it wasn’t for them, many would die. I hope that these 2 men or their loved ones don’t ever need pain medication after surgery because a nurse that has 6 other patients and he or she must suffer for about an hour because there are not enough nurses for the amount of patients that they are assigned.

    • Jerry Hoover

      Amen I couldn’t believe that he said that “greedy” not by far. We are the must giving of all professions. Yet we get disrespected by patients screamed at by doctors and we just take it with a grain of salt. I would like to see just one person not a nurse go thru what we do in one day.
      Not many people would be willing or able to put up with what we do in one day

  • Sheri

    So the nurses are being greedy…
    As an RN, I simply am mortified that this unidentified man would not care about his health. For without qualified nurses from the local area, he will not get what we all desire: excellent health care. Let this fellow step into our shoes for one hour only. He will soon be humbled.

    • Donna

      Thank you Sheri, well said. many people just think they are owed this health experience. Hope they get the good news they desire.

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