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Nurses, Wilkes-Barre General Spar Over Strike Staffing Plans

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Pennsylvania) (11/30/13) Roger DuPuis

Nurses at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Pennsylvania are planning a 14-hour work stoppage on Dec. 3 due to disagreements about soaring health insurance costs, scheduling, and pay increases. The nurses’ union has complained that the hospital’s parent company, Community Health Systems, expects to hire “highly questionable” nurses from staffing firms to serve as strikebreakers. However, hospital officials say the incidents cited in the union’s statement do not involve nurses from US Nursing, which is the staffing firm used by Wilkes-Barre General.

Hospital spokesman Jim McGuire says the errors and misdeeds mentioned in the statement, such as a strike-staffing nurse who infected patients with Hepatitis C in Philadelphia, are merely scare tactics. He says, “Under the terms of the hospital’s agreement with the staffing firm, the qualifications, level of experience, and certifications required of the temporary nurses are the same as those required of our staff nurses.”