Press Release

RNs who staged historic TX and KS strikes now locked out by Ascension

Nurse being confronted by management at entrance to hospital

Union nurses condemn Ascension management for post-strike lockout

Nurses at three Ascension-owned facilities in Austin, Texas, and Wichita, Kan., condemn Ascension management for carrying out a three-day lockout following historic one-day strikes at their hospitals. Nearly 2,000 nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin (ASMCA) and Wichita’s Ascension Via Christi St. Francis and Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph hospitals held June 27 the largest nurses strikes ever in both states and are now facing punitive attempts by management at union-busting by prohibiting them from returning to work Wednesday and locking them out for three additional days.

“Management wants to hide behind technicalities and pretend they have to do this,” said Jessica Gripentrog, an RN in the internal float pool at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin. “But they can welcome us back to work today if they want to, just like they can settle a strong contract with us today if they want to. Nurses won’t be intimidated by petty antics when we’re in a fight for the future of our hospitals and the health of our patients and communities.”

“We’re ready to go back to work, just like we’re ready to settle a contract that gives us what we need to take care of our patients,” said Marvin Ruckle, a neonatal intensive care unit RN at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph. “Management’s efforts to bust our union won’t work. We unionized to fight for our patients, and these attempts to retaliate against nurses aren’t going to stop us.”

Nurses will now prepare for a return-to-work rally on Saturday, July 1, when management has said it will allow nurses who struck Tuesday to return to work.

“We’d love to get back to work today for our patients, if only management was as serious about patient care as we are,” said Shelly Rader, an emergency department RN at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis. “But we’ll be ready on Saturday, and we’ll be celebrating the power we showed them we have with these strikes.”

These were the largest nurses strikes in Texas and Kansas state history, and the nurses are represented by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU), the largest and fastest-growing union of registered nurses in the United States today.

Photos of today’s strikes are also available for media use on NNU’s Flickr account, with attribution to National Nurses United. 

Horizontal video available upon request.

Media outlets have permission to use all videos and photos from NNU social media feeds with attribution to National Nurses United:

See NNU’s full release from prior to the strikes for more information.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.