Unionized nurses at Crozer Chester Medical Center have voted to authorize a strike beginning June 5.

The contract between nurses represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) and the hospital will expire at 11:59 p.m. June 4. Negotiations are continuing.

Bill Cruice, executive director of PASNAP and chief negotiator, said nurses are asking for the nurse-to-patient staffing ratios required of hospitals in California.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey do not have such rules, he said.

Requiring minimum staffing levels would be safer for patients and provide better working conditions for nurses, he said.

Crozer already meets those standards on many units, he said, but might have to hire more nurses to work on late shifts in some departments.

In addition, Cruice said, nurses were being asked to pay too much for their health care and insurance.

Although the union has not yet discussed specific numbers, he said, it likely will ask for a 6 percent pay increase.

In a brief statement, the hospital said: "Our nursing staff is very important to us and we are hopeful that we can reach a settlement that is fair for our nurses and the hospital."