Seldom get to post a "win." Here is one. Temple nurses and allied health workers whupped Temple University Hospital and their scabs...and wrapped up their strike last week.
The following is from Labor Blog.WATCH: Temple Nurses and Allied Professionals Reflect on Their Victory
Throughout the strike Carolyn reported on the struggle, in an effort to keep up morale at the picket line and rally deep and widespread community support.
Now, she shares their story of victory and reflections from their struggle.
And next is a nice article from Workers World.
Temple Hospital nurses win 4-week strike
By Betsey Piette
After four weeks on the picket line, 1,500 nurses and allied professional workers at Temple University Hospital forced management to back down on contract proposals that demanded severe concessions from the workers. The nurses' victory in this confrontation strikes a blow for all workers who face concessions in upcoming contracts.
The four weeks of strike were marked by many public demonstrations of support from students, community and many unions on behalf of the nurses. Meanwhile, management hired scabs in an attempt to break the strike.
After management backed down, the final agreement was overwhelmingly approved on April 28 by 97 percent of the membership of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, representing striking workers.
Union representatives charged management with provoking the strike by attempting to weaken the union and prohibit staff from speaking out on behalf of patients. Instead of caving in to management pressure, the multi-national workforce remained unified and strong. The nurses forced management to move from their "last, best offer" presented in September 2009 to agree to a contract much more in line with what the union was asking for.
Management withdrew most provisions of its "best offer" from the final package. This included a gag order that would have prevented workers from speaking out on behalf of patients. Also withdrawn were provisions that would have weakened the union, including a proposal to eliminate union shop and separate the registered nurses and professional/technical unions' shared contract expiration date.
The contract will also partially restore a benefit for tuition reimbursement for employee's dependents. While management had proposed a 4 percent salary increase in the last year of a three-year contract, the final contract provides for 7.5 percent raises over three years, plus an $800 signing bonus. Temple management also withdrew its proposal to cut the additional pay for weekends and non-day shifts.
Victory belongs to all workers
The awareness among the TUH workers, who are scheduled to return to their jobs at 7 p.m. on April 30, is that their victory is shared by workers everywhere who are standing up against onslaughts from the bosses in the midst of the capitalist economic crisis. In turn, support from community organizations and other unions helped the nurses stand up to 28 days of management's attempts to break their union through the use of scab labor, who were given extremely high compensation.
Nurses and allied professional workers are preparing now to return to their jobs. As they do so, union officials say that because management's intransience provoked the strike, the whole thing should be considered a "lockout." In a lockout, workers should be eligible for unemployment compensation. Many workers have already filed unemployment claims.
The officials base their argument on the hospital's actions prior to the strike in March 2009. At that time, management cancelled an existing tuition reimbursement benefit for employees' dependents. This cancellation was a major sticking point in negotiations.
Temple management also wanted the union to drop its opposition to the hospital's appeal of a Pennsylvania Labor Department ruling that management had to pay up to $550,000 to fund back reimbursement payments. The union refused.
PASNAP executive director Bill Cruice said that Temple management's withdrawal of a previously existing benefit before the walkout changed the terms of the previous contract. Thus this changed the status quo and provoked the strike. Cruice explained that had management agreed to restore the benefit, workers would have stayed on the job.
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