Unionized nurses at Dubuque’s Finley Hospital issued a strike notice overnight after contract talks failed to reach an agreement. Registered nurses who are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 199 plan a three-day strike starting at 6 A.M. on July 6th.
The one-year contract expired at 11:59 P.M. last night (Tuesday). Finley nurse Sara Licht says the union’s problem is not being addressed. Licht says “If the proposal remains unchanged, the bargaining team will encourage members to reject the proposal that does nothing to address recruitment, retention and quality care issues the hospital faces.”
Finley is reportedly offering 30-thousand dollars in life insurance to part-time nurses, while full-time nurses would receive 60-thousand dollars in life insurance. Weekend nurses would receive flex spending accounts. The administration also offered a guaranteed three-percent pay increase to nurses given annually on their anniversary date.
Licht says the union is taking part in a lawsuit. She says “A prominent Washington D.C. antitrust lawfirm has filed a class-action lawsuit that alleges hospitals are keeping nurses’ wages down and driving nurses from the bedside, some of the same conditions we face here in Dubuque.”
This would be the first strike in Finley Hospital history. The two sides are scheduled to meet again June 29th to resume negotiations and a strike could be avoided. Administrators will use nurses from an outside company if a strike does happen.