Nurses rally outside Center City hospital after working 5 months with no contract

Mike Dougherty
January 03, 2019 - 4:06 pm
Nurses at Hahnemann and St. Chris rally in Center City as they enter the new year without a contract

Mike Dougherty/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Nurses at two Philadelphia hospitals rallied this morning as they enter the new year without a contract.

Nurses marched outside Hahnemann University Hospital on Thursday, chanting, carrying signs and demanding what they say are safe nurse to patient ratios at the hospital. Susan Bowes, staff nurse and union president, and says management has asked them to make an impossible choice.

"They have offered us a very decent wage increase, but only if we agree to not have staffing grids in our contract. So they're basically asking the nurses to pay for safe staffing in the hospital," she said. 

She says nurses are spread too thin and it's having a direct impact on patient care.

RELATED: Nurses at 2 Philly hospitals are calling for patient limits to provide better care

"When you have too many patients, that's when you make mistakes," she added. 

Several local politicians have written letters to American Academic Health System CEO Joel Freedman, urging him to create the best possible environment at the hospitals in Philadelphia. 

State Representative Brian Sims is on the hospital's board of governors and said he had high hopes when American Academic Health Systems took over the hospital.

"But what we've seen consistently from this new ownership is an inability to put staffing levels and an inability to put nursing in front of dollar signs," he said. 

Mayor Jim Kenney stands with the nurses.

"I think that they deserve to be treated respectfully. And they need a contract that's fair, commensurate with their education and their skills," he said. 

In a statement, Hahnemann University Hospital CEO Anthony Rajkumar says they will continue to negotiate in good faith with the nurse's union and remain committed to providing the highest quality care at every level.