Methodist Medical Contract Disagreements

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge brands itself as rebuilt, renovated, and re-invented.

But the union who represents its 1,200 nurses, therapists, techs and secretaries takes issue with the slogan and claims managements latest contract offer would threaten not only its standard of care, but patients very safety.

The current contract runs out midnight Tuesday.

A pep rally, where children carry many of the unions banners. A less that subtle way to say the battle at Methodist Medical Center is about more than their parents pay.

"We've been offered a contract that's just an obscenity. It's a shame that that people here can't even afford the health insurance," said Stephen Vance.

Union bargainers say management's offering 2 percent raises for each year of a new three year deal but that they'd have to pay 35 % more for their families health insurance.

The broader issue, a proposal to break up team nursing.

It puts less care on the patients, it extends the worker's responsibilities out to a larger number of patients," said Doug Collier.

The patients we have here now, are sicker than they've ever been, and it's almost impossible to take care of many of them when you're working by yourself," said Vance.

Methodist-Oak Ridge's parent, covenant health addresses no specifics in a written statement tonight, except to say its goal is to draft a contract that maintains a priority on patient care and provides a competitive benefit and wage package for all staff.

Chief Bargainer Doug Collier says local #205 hasn't been on strike in 40 years.

But members may have to re-think if they can't get guarantees on what they consider safe staffing.