Last updated: July 14. 2014 2:29PM - 1238 Views
By Jon O’Connell joconnell@civitasmedia.com

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PHILADELPHIA — The Wyoming Valley Nurses Association, a labor union, believes Wilkes-Barre General Hospital officials are bargaining in bad faith. The union is alleging there have been excessive and unlawful delays in providing information pertinent to creating a new contract.

Hospital officials have disputed the allegations.

Attorneys for the union, which is a local bargaining unit for Pennsylvania Skilled Nurses and Allied Professionals, began testimony today before Administrative Labor Judge Susan Flynn at the National Labor Relations Board offices in Philadelphia.

Similar to a civil lawsuit, the union accuses the hospital of withholding data, employee scheduling documents and insurance plan information they say will help union leaders at the bargaining table.

Union hospital workers at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital have been working under the terms of a contract that expired last year.

Union hospital workers went on strike for five days last week. There are roughly 450 union nurses that work for General Hospital.

Information the union claims was withheld includes a mandatory overtime schedule, number of mandatory overtime shifts filled and hospital-provided insurance information the union would like to consider for its members.

The union also has accused the hospital of ordering employees to leave the property at the hospital’s Thomas P. Saxon Building in Kingston where they were handing out pamphlets with information about a one-day strike last year.

The expired contract was the first new contract between union workers and General Hospital’s new owner, Community Health Systems, often just called CHS, which is a for-profit hospital chain based in Franklin, Tennessee.

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