St. Louis nurses strike again

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Large group of nurses holding banner "SSM Health: Invest in Patient Care!""

RNs at Saint Louis University Hospital hold two-day strike

By Chuleenan Svetvilas

National Nurse magazine - Jan | Feb | March 2024 Issue

Registered nurses at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital (SLUH) in St. Louis, Mo., held a two-day strike in December to protest management’s persistent union-busting and outsourcing of RN jobs. National Nurses Organizing Committee has represented nurses at SLUH since 2012.

SLUH nurses have been in negotiations since May 2023 for a new contract with little to no movement on key issues. Their contract expired on June 15, 2023. The RNs held an informational picket about the issues on July 19 and a one-day strike on Sept. 25. The nurses urge management to invest in nursing staff and agree to a contract that addresses nurse retention and stops the overutilization of external agency nurses.

The union also filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against SLUH for coordinating a decertification effort when management should have been bargaining in good faith. Management has been actively recruiting nurses to leave the union.

“We condemn SSM for trying to break the union by encouraging nurses to leave the union instead of bargaining in good faith,” said Maddi O’Leary, RN in the blood and marrow transplant clinic at SLUH. “SSM seems to be dragging this process out and encouraging the decertification of our union. This is why we are striking.”

“We have a staffing crisis, but a revolving door of outsourced nurses is not the solution,” said Earline Shepard, RN in the cardiac catheterization lab at SLUH. “We are taking time away from our patients to assist temporary agency nurses. Staff nurses can give our patients the continuity of care they need in their medical treatment.”

Chuleenan Svetvilas is a communications specialist at National Nurses United.