After 38 days of a strike, Mercy Health and nurses with St. Vincent have reached agreement on staffing and quality of life issues that had kept the sides separated.
The sides had differed on on-call hours and health care.
A UAW statement issued Wednesday said:
"The UAW has reached a tentative agreement with Mercy Health. The agreement addresses many of the nurses’ major concerns, including quality-of-life issues. Therefore, on June 12th the Union agreed to end its strike at Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center and made an unconditional offer to return to work on behalf of all former strikers.
"The Union intends to schedule a ratification vote as soon as possible on the tentative agreement."
Mercy Health released a statement Wednesday that said the workers will vote on the proposed contract Thursday and Friday.
Hospital executives said that if the agreement is ratified they will be able to implement their previous proposal.
However, Sandy Theis with the UAW released a statement later Wednesday night stating the following:
"Due to misinformation being given by both Mercy Health and the Local 2213 President/Chairperson regarding the tentative agreement that has been reached, there will be NO ratification vote at UAW Local 12 on Thursday and Friday this week.
Without informing UAW Region 2B representatives, the Local 2213 Bargaining Committee held an informational meeting this evening (Wednesday). It is our belief that the membership has the right to be fully and accurately informed prior to voting on any contract.
For that reason, we will be holding informational meetings this Saturday at UAW Local 12 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Please plan to attend.
The location and times for the ratification vote will be provided when they become available."
The UAW later provided this update on their Facebook page, saying:
"It is important to know that your Local 22134 Bargaining Committee agreed to and supported this tentative agreement. When you are contacted by Mercy to return to work, you should do so. You will be protected by the current collective bargaining agreement.
All remaining questions/concerns will be addressed at Saturday's meetings."
Earlier Wednesday, the UAW said Mercy Health's latest proposal includes improvements.
"The tentative agreement includes important improvements from the previous proposal but we do not want to get into details until our membership has been fully briefed," UAW leader Theis said.
According to Mercy Health, if registered nurses agree with the contract, they will be able to implement increased wages, increases in tuition reimbursement and the student loan-forgiveness program, access to incentives through an employee reward program and increases in weekend premium, shift differential and multiple location premiums.
What comes next
UAW nursing leaders and the nursing members of the unit are recommending to ratify the agreement. They are voting on this over the next few days.
If the agreement is passed, the UAW will work with the hospital on how to get nurses back to work, UAW leaders said Wednesday.
Mercy Health Communications Director Erica Blake said the company is "welcoming back our nurses as of tomorrow (Thursday) morning."
The strike began on May 6, as health workers at St. Vincent called for better health-care coverage and on-call hours.
On June 2, technical and service unit workers that had been on strike voted to ratify the proposal from Mercy Health.
Throughout the strike, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and members of city council and the Lucas County commissioners extended their support to the health-care workers and urged both sides to come together to find a solution.
What led up to the strike
Mercy Health employees said they did not want to strike and leave their patients, but felt they had to in order to make their voices heard.
They also stressed that the issue wasn't about money, but about making sure they can safely take care of their patients.
"I'm overwhelmed at just their misunderstanding of what's really going on. I mean, we nurses miss lunch, we miss breaks. We can work nine hours without really going to the bathroom unless we ask somebody to cover our patients," nurse Latonya McDonald Greenlee said.
UAW leaders said negotiations to try and resolve these issues had been going on since July 30 of last year with more than 60 bargaining sessions.
"The UAW represents the hospital workers here and they've ratified eight contracts with other people they represent during the time that nothing has really happened at Mercy Health St. V's, so I think the UAW has distinguished itself as being willing to bargain in good faith," union leader Sandy Theis said.
"When you're fatigued and you're tired, you're stressed and overworked. It becomes harder and harder to provide the care these patients deserve and that's why I feel this is so important, yet it's also unnerving," OR nurse Michele Powers said.
The strike began on May 6 at 4:30 p.m., right when National Nurses Week started. More than 2,000 health-care workers got involved.
The strike was not limited to St. Vincent. About 10 nurses and support staff at Mercy Health Cancer Center at St. Anne Hospital are part of the United Auto Workers and also staged their walkout May 6 and joined the strike.