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EL hospital releases details of nurse offer

EAST LIVERPOOL — Bob Cousins of the Ohio Nurses Association described East Liverpool City Hospital’s latest release “misleading” and questioned why “the individuals in California, who are calling the shots at ELCH” refuse to respond to the union’s concern about nurses’ compensation.

The East Liverpool Nurses Association had issued a three-day notice, after talks broke down earlier this week.

In 2016, the hospital was acquired in financial distress by Prime Healthcare Foundation, which is located on the West Coast and operates 48 hospitals in 14 states.

Cousins’ comments were in response to the hospital sharing its “competitive and fair offer” for the East Liverpool Nurses Association on its facility Facebook page, alleging that the proposal never even made it past union leadership for a vote.

Hospital spokesman Rick Perez said Thursday, “It is our belief that the union membership was not informed of the final offer detail until they saw what we distributed to them.”

Cousins accused the hospital of retaliating against the registered nurses by withdrawing the proposal. “(Hospital) management’s actions don’t in any way help to restore stability and trust at the hospital,” Cousins, union deputy executive officer, said in his response to the Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

Accompanying documents from the hospital show that the wage for an entry-level nurse would start at $27 per hour eventually increasing to $33.60 per hour for a nurse with 15 years of employment. Perez added that as part of the offer extended to the union, the members would have received a 100 percent increase in their tuition reimbursement tiered for part-time and full-time members. This includes a retention commitment to aid in retaining RNs with a desire to further their education.

Creation of a rotation schedule for holiday, vacation and scheduling in order to recruit and retain nurses was “consistently rejected,” according to hospital officials.

Cousins accuses the hospital management of triggering the strike by rejecting a contract extension. He also alleges that hospital officials continue to refuse to schedule any future dates for negotiation.

“Management’s claims of transparency are laughable. Their (social media) post misrepresents and leaves out important details that undermine their claim of transparency,” Cousins continues.

“It is truly unfortunate that our East Liverpool City Hospital management would rather waste time trying to mislead the public than spend their time actually negotiating an agreement for the benefit of the community.”

The nurses’ union asserts that it is ready and willing to head back to the bargaining table and reach a fair agreement.

The hospital’s contract with the nurses expired Nov. 20, with the nurse’s walkout set to begin today.

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