SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A month-long contract dispute came to a head this weekend, MercyOne Siouxland nurses voting on a possible strike or to sign off on a new contract and the vote took place Monday night at the Holiday Inn downtown.
It could go either way. The vote is being kept very private with no cameras allowed inside.
But what I have seen just from being outside the doors is these nurses seem like this has been weighing heavily on them.
Their heads are down and they do not want to be filmed.
A union representative telling me these private meetings have been filled with many emotions and lots of tears.
Nurses have met in this room before for community rallies, but as a standstill continues, they met throughout this weekend for this crucial vote.
The voting is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. Monday night and even though the union has urged their nurses to vote no on this new contract and yes to a strike, nurses tell me it’s really become a lose, lose situation.
“No one wants to go on strike and I’m wrapping my brain around walking away from a patient that I know I took an oath to take care of is extremely hard. The thought of that… There was a lot of crying earlier,” said Jennifer Beacom, MercyOne Registered Nurse.
The union tells me the new contract their voting on has seen some additional benefits from the hospital, but that they’re still not satisfied and don’t feel like it addresses nurse retention or patient safety.
66% of the vote is needed to pass a strike and if it does go through, it won’t happen immediately.
There will be at least 10 days notice before it begins.