Nurses make picket signs ahead of Thursday morning strike

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Union of Nurses and Allied Professionals (RUNAP) and Rochester Regional Health (RRH) failed to come to an agreement on their first-ever contract on Wednesday, which means nurses go on strike Thursday at 7 a.m.

RUNAP Secretary Gillian Kingsley said, “We are sad it has come to this point and frankly we are disgusted it has come to this point. We’ve been trying to get a contract done since October when we started this process.”

After failing to reach a deal with the administration, Kinsley joined other nurses making signs ahead of Thursday morning’s picket.

“We started our union a year ago — in July is when we voted to have a union, and we started that process basically because we were sick and tired of the way our patients were being treated,” Kingsley said.

Fewer than half of the nurses voted to strike.

Union officials said of the 900 nurses, 430 were in favor of striking, 59 were opposed, and the others didn’t vote.

In a statement released on Wednesday, RRH said, “We are disappointed we were not able to make more progress and avoid a strike that RUNAP has scheduled to begin Thursday morning. Rochester General Hospital is fully prepared to care for our community.”

Care that nurses like Stacey Judson said they look forward to providing every day.

“I’m actually very sad right now. We are trying to do what is best for our community. We really wanted to come to agreement today. This isn’t our goal,” Judson said.

But in the meantime, Judson said nurses have support from the community.

“It’s been very heartwarming to see all the nurses come together united, and the amount of community support has been phenomenal,” Judson.

RRH will pay for outside nurses to treat patients during the strike and said that the strike will not impact patient care.