By Elliott Francis
Contract negotiations between the The Washington Hospital Center and it's nurses are set to resume Thursday. More than 1,600 care givers are at odds with the facility's management over inadequate staffing and pay.
The nurses say, they are spread thin. At a rally protesting working conditions, some nurses tell stories of caring for six or seven patients at a time. Union representatives say four to five is considered safe.
Robin Stanley has been a nurse for 19 years at Washington Hospital. Concerned the current staffing problem could compromise safety, Stanly says:
"Who gets my care? Is it the one screaming the loudest or I don't know...its just hard to decide when there aren't enough nurses to help us," says Stanley.
Union representatives for the nurses say the contract terms offered by hospital management fail to correct the shortage. What's worse according to nurse and union negotiator Meghan Honorcane, is a proposed pay reduction for nurses with more than 15 years on the job.
"They're giving us proposals that we fear could cause an exodus of nurses from the hospital," says Honorcane.
A spokesperson for the hospital wasn't available for comment but in a press release says, "While wages overall will remain competitive, the pay for some positions may differ from other hospitals in the region."