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St. John's Nurses Strike Nearing A Month in Length

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Striking nurses at St. John's (KWMU file photo)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – No new talks are planned as the nurses' strike at St. John's Mercy Medical Center approaches a month.

Hospital negotiator Michael Lowenbaum says union membership remains a major issue. The union wants nurses to be required to join, but Lowenbaum says he feels most nurses want membership optional.

"The critical thing to the medical center is quality patient care and we're continuing to provide that at the standard the community expects,' Lowenbaum said Wednesday.

"So as long we continue to do that, I think we feel our position is a solid one." The union says it would be weaker if membership were optional. Dave Politte, with the United Commercial and Food Workers, says optional membership is a way of breaking the union.

"They want to weaken this group and weaken their voice in the workplace," said Politte. "These RN's on the picket lines; it's what they believe is their issue that maintains them a voice in the work place in regards to patient care issues."

Politte says wages and benefits are other issues that need to be resolved. The nurses went on strike December 15th.

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