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Nurses at Delaware County Memorial call two-day strike

Nurses at Delaware County Memorial Hospital will go on strike for two days next month to protest stalled labor contract bargaining and unfair labor practices, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals said Wednesday.

The union, known as PASNAP, won the right a year ago to represent 370 registered nurses and technical employee at the Drexel Hill facility, which was purchased in July 2016 by Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. as part of the hedge-fund backed firm's acquisition of Crozer-Keystone Health System.

"For our patients, we must win a fair contract that will ensure safety for the Delco community," Angela Neopolitano, a registered nurse who has worked at the hospital for 36 years, said in a news release.

The union, which called for a strike on March 5 and 6,  said Prospect has been unwilling to negotiate stronger staffing levels.

In addition, the union has filed charges against Prospect at the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the company illegally changed employee health insurance rates, decreased the number of staff at the hospital, and made other unilateral changes.

This week, an administrative law judge ruled in a case before the National Labor Relations Board that Crozer improperly withheld documents from the union detailing the sale of Crozer to Prospect and ordered Crozer to provide the documents.

Crozer-Keystone officials said they were bargaining in good faith and that a contingnency plan was to have nurses at the hospital during the strike.

"We are disappointed that the union has taken this action. We do not believe the threat of the strike was necessary or helpful to the bargaining process," the company said in a statement.