Feb. 25—WILKES-BARRE — Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital voted unanimously in favor of union representation and the right to bargain their first union contract with Capital Anesthesia Solutions.
According to a news release from the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the CRNAs were laid off in August by their previous employer, North American Partners in Anesthesia, which left following a dispute with the hospital over unpaid bills.
The news release states that Capital Anesthesia Solutions immediately took over anesthesia services at Wilkes-Barre General, Moses Taylor Hospital, and Regional Hospital of Scranton in August and spread out the union members over three different work sites, causing their established union recognition to lapse.
Since the shuffling of staff has stopped, PASNAP said the CRNAs have dedicated themselves to restoring their union and fighting for improvements on the job.
"Front line healthcare professionals in every setting have worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be called on to do so for many months to come," said PASNAP President Maureen May, R.N. "Their work needs to be respected, their life-saving efforts acknowledged and their contributions valued — not just by their patients but by their employers as well."
Nancy Dines, vice president of Wyoming Valley Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Association (WV CRNAA), said, "We had a union before, and it helped us keep our jobs when other anesthetists were forced to leave with the last company. It helps ensure fairness and structure to our employment situation while so much is changing in healthcare."
The CRNAs voted unanimously in favor of their union under their new employer, Capital Anesthesia Solutions, in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.
Anne Marie Micikas, President of WV CRNAA , said, "Forming our union again is the best way for us to ensure the highest quality of care for our patients, protect ourselves, and advance our profession."
The CRNA union, Wyoming Valley Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Association, now includes 22 CRNAs at Wilkes-Barre General.
WV CRNAA is a local of PASNAP, which represents 9,400 nurses and healthcare professionals across the Commonwealth.