SLU Hospital nurses hosting candlelight vigil for patient safety Feb. 29

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ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL (SLUH) RNs (from left) Marchelle Vernell, Jay Weaver, and Kellie Allen spoke to members of St. Louis’ Faith Labor Alliance Feb. 15, outlining the challenges of their ongoing contract negotiations with the hospital, which have dragged on for nine months. Nurses are holding a candlelight vigil for patient safety at 6 p.m Thursday, Feb. 29, at the corners of Grand and Vista avenues in front of the old SLUH hospital, and is inviting Labor allies and the public to join. – Labor Tribune photo

By TIM ROWDEN
Editor-in-Chief

Nurses with the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC)/National Nurses United (NNU) at St. Louis University (SLU) Hospital will hold a candlelight vigil for patient safety at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, at the corners of Grand Blvd. and Vista Ave. in front of the old SLUH hospital, and is inviting Labor allies and the public to join.

SLUH nurses have been in negotiations with the hospital administration since last May and are still fighting for a new contract. The negotiations have dragged on for so long a mediator has been brought in to try to help the two sides reach an agreement.

“There have not been raises. We have been constantly back and forth at the table. And now we’re at the point where we have a mediator involved,” SLUH RN Marchelle Vernell told attendees at a recent meeting of St. Louis’ Faith Labor Alliance. “We are making some progress. But that is only because of some of the actions we have done and through your support.”

Nurses have launched a letter writing campaign to the hospital board, telling them it’s time for the administration to reach an agreement with the nurses.

“If you have ever been in the hospital, you know who takes care of you,” Vernell said. “It is not the doctors, it is not the CEO, it is not the COO, it’s not the CFO. It’s the nurses at the bedside who hold your hand, and we need to complete our contract.”

The staffing at SLUH has become untenable, nurses say, with management hiring temp workers to fill in the gaps.

RN Kellie Allen said it all comes down to corporate greed. “They can pay what we consider scabs $91 million, but they can’t give us a raise,” Allen said. “Our patients deserve better. We are dedicated to the people that come in our door. They are important to us and we want them to get the care that they deserve.”

For more information on the candlelight vigil, scan the QR code accompanying this story.


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