Union nurses at the UVM Medical Center are on strike as of 7 a.m. Thursday morning.
Outside UVM Medical center in Burlington and at nine other locations, hundreds of nurses in red shirts are picketing. Laurie Aunchman is president of the Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals and works at the UVM Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit. Aunchman called it a "sea of red" outside the hospital this morning.
"Our nurses have come out in droves to show the hospital that the proposals they're putting across the table do not address the issues the nurses have when it comes to safety of our patients, nurse-patient ratios, it doesn't address the retention and recruitment of new nurses," said Aunchman.
Negotiations continued into Wednesday evening, but nurses and the hospital administration were unable to reach a contract agreement.
In preparation for a strike, the hospital brought in several hundred temporary nurses, according to UVM Medical President Eileen Whalen.
"They provide the high quality care our patients and families will need," said Whalen. "They're highly skilled professionals that specialize in stepping into hospitals in a moment's notice during a work stoppage."
Some elective surgical procedures have been postponed. But emergency services will be unaffected, administrators have said.
The negotiations between the hospital and the nurses union for a three year contract renewal have been going on since March.