UAW President Gary Jones Shows Support for Mercy Health Workers

Although Mercy Health officials finally set aside dates to resume negotiations with striking hospital workers, UAW President Gary Jones called on the hospital to arrive to the talks ready to bargain in earnest and craft an agreement that is fair to all parties and patients.

In response to the UAW’s requests to continue talks, and growing community support for the workers, Mercy announced that is available to meet May 20, 21 and 22. Union officials said they can meet all three days.

“Toledo is a union town. It values fairness,’’ Jones told a news conference. “It understands that it’s wrong – and dangerous – to have nurses, and technical staff and support staff in any hospital who are exhausted from forced overtime and worried about skyrocketing healthcare costs.’’

Jones made his comments as the ongoing strike as Mercy-Health St. Vincent Medical Center threatens to extend into its third week and one day after the picket line outside the hospital was the biggest since the strike began May 6.

“The longer this goes on, the more support for the workers,’’ said Rich Rankin, director of UAW Region 2B.

Both Jones and Rankin acknowledged that hospital administrators across the nation are boosting profits with aggressive staff cuts and other dangerous cost-cutting measures but said the Toledo strike offers an opportunity to show the nation how to address the growing threat to healthcare.

Negotiations began in July. Since July, Local 12 has ratified seven additional contracts in Greater Toledo.

UAW Local 2213 represents nearly 1,000 nurses at St. Vincent, and UAW Local 12 represents another 900 technical and support workers. All units turned down the hospital’s last best offer.