130 registered nurses who participated in a Wednesday strike at Nathan Littauer hospital have been locked out of the facility.
Nurses picketed outside the hospital Wednesday, the latest chapter in what has been a two-year long contract dispute that labor and management don’t seem to be able to agree on.
Nathan Littauer officials in Gloversville explained on the hospital’s website that they had warned the strikers in advance they could be locked out of their jobs for taking that action. On Thursday morning, participants were indeed locked out.
The nurses say they walked off the job as a protest over wages, health insurance, pension and retirement benefits and understaffing. Nurse Lisa Washburn tells Newschannel 13: “If you're a part time employee here and you have a family, it is $281 a week for health insurance, plus a $6,000 deductible. And most nurses can't afford that.”
Responding to requests for comment, The New York State Nurses Association issued a statement, saying, in part "A formal complaint has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Right now, temporary nurses have been shipped to Gloversville from across the country and are trying to take care of our patients. We don’t know who they are, where they are from, or what their qualifications are to allow them to care for our neighbors. To end the lock out, all that Nathan Littauer CEO Laurence Kelly has to do is say the word."
And Nathan Littauer Hospital issued a statement of its own, saying that the mood inside is "calm and positive" with routine patient care, scheduled surgeries, exams and treatments continuing as planned, without interruption. Strikers were reminded that anyone who went on strike during a time when they were scheduled to work is locked out until Monday.