Healthcare News & Insights

Nursing union set to strike over gag rule

A so-called gag rule that would bar nurses from making critical statements about their employer is at the heart of a dispute at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

The nurses’ union was set to go on strike at 7 a.m., March 31. The nurses, as well as other staff members such as respiratory therapists and social workers, have been working without a contract since Sept. 30, 2009.

The last vote on the contract was 980 to 50 against.

The nurses’ main sticking point is the gag rule that prevents them from making “disparaging” comments about the hospital. Nurses on staff say the rule is intended to prevent them from pointing out potentially harmful practices, and could endanger patient care.

Temple officials have prepared for the strike by bringing in 850 temporary workers. The hospital has also taken steps to ensure patients and visitors can enter the hospital freely.

Are the nurses justified to be concerned about this rule — or is it just another company trying to keep disgruntled employees from tarnishing its corporate image? Sound off in the comments.

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