Philadelphia | February 10, 2016 — Nurses at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children have voted to form a union. It was the third time in recent weeks that area nurses have voted to join PASNAP, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. Results were tallied by the National Labor Relations Board and saw 311 to 49—an 86% majority—in favor of unionization.
All told, the new union at St. Christopher’s and its outpatient clinics will include approximately 500 nurses. They join more than 1,200 others from Hahnemann University Hospital and Delaware County Memorial Hospital, where strong majorities voted in January to unionize with PASNAP.
St. Christopher’s is owned by Tenet Healthcare, the same for-profit hospital operator that owns Hahnemann. The corporatization of hospitals has been a key issue in the union’s recent rush of organizing: Nurses have said that management’s focus on profits has distracted from patient care.
“We’re working with less and less, and we’re losing fantastic team members,” said Maria Plano, a registered nurse in St. Christopher’s Special Care Unit. “It affects quality of care, and it hurts nurses and patients. We’re coming together through the union because we want to be advocates for safe care and a good environment in the hospital.”
“It’s not just about nurses. This is about the safety of kids,” said Maureen Nolen, RN. “I love my job and I love the kids and their families. I want to continue working at St. Chris for a long time. Joining PASNAP lets us have a voice so we can make it a better place for everyone.”
Organizing efforts have gained steam as nurses and health professionals have seen conditions deteriorate. Many have expressed concerns over staffing, equipment, and ineffective protocols. Others believe that management’s decisions are interfering with quality patient care.
“Nurses everywhere want the same thing: enough bedside nurses to safely take care of the patients. This clashes with the needs of corporations like Tenet that must make money for Wall Street shareholders,” said Patricia Eakin, RN, PASNAP President. “I am proud of the nurses at St. Christopher’s who are taking a stand for patients.”
“It’s inspiring to see so many dedicated nurses standing up for themselves and their patients,” said Bill Cruice, PASNAP Executive Director. “At a time when too many hospital CEOs will do whatever they feel necessary to turn a profit, it is the collective voice of registered nurses that will resist such trends and return the focus to patients and their needs.”