This week registered nurses represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), will begin bargaining at two CHS-owned facilities in West Virginia. In December of 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an order that stipulates both Bluefield Regional Medical Center (BRMC) in Bluefield, and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center (GVMC) in Ronceverte, must bargain with RNs.\r\n\r\nGVMC negotiations began on Feb. 27 and BRMC began on Mar. 2.\r\n\r\nBoth BRMC and GVMC hospital are owned by Tennessee-based Community Health Systems\/CHS, which is one of the nation\u2019s largest for-profit hospital chains, reporting $1.5 billion in profits over the last five years.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe issues that we need to have addressed are about patient safety including staffing, adequate training for healthcare technology. We are looking forward to bringing these issues forward for our patients in the communities we serve,\u201d said Brenda Meadwell, RN Bluefiedl Regional Medical Center.\r\n\r\nCHS\u2019 refusal to address nurses\u2019 widespread concerns about patient safety at both hospitals was the driving force that galvanized RNs to organize and win representation with the NNOC in August of 2012. Since that time, both hospitals have been charged with multiple violations of federal law related to nurses\u2019 efforts to advocate for patients and win economic and workplace fairness.\r\n\r\nIn May of this year, the National Labor Relations Board held that GVMC violated federal labor law when it disciplined a nurse in retaliation for his union support. The NLRB\u2019s finding against GVMC is consistent with the conduct of other CHS-affiliated hospitals, which has resulted in three federal court injunctions, along with several NLRB decisions finding multiple labor law violations.\r\n\r\nRNs have cited a number of issues compromising patient care at both facilities, including:\r\n\r\n\u2022 Unsafe RN-to-patient staffing ratios throughout a majority of the nursing units.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Unsafe \u201cfloating\u201d- requiring nurses to work in units outside their area of expertise.\r\n\r\n\u2022 Lack of essential equipment such as thermometer and blood pressure cuffs.\r\n\r\n\u2022 High turnover and inability to retain experienced nursing staff.