WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital voted on Friday to unanimously strike, to improve conditions for their patients and themselves.

The Wyoming Valley Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Association (WV CRNAA) has been in contract negotiations with their employer, Capital Anesthesia Solutions, an Ohio-based anesthesia contractor, since April of 2021.

Since employee recruitment and retention has been down, the association unanimously voted to authorize a one-day strike, on Wednesday, February 2.

“We can’t afford to lose any more CRNA’s, we’ve lost seven due to resignations since Capital came in August 2020, and we’re down to 17,” said Anne Marie Micikas, President of WV CRNAA. “As nurse anesthetists, we are with our patients for every breath, for every single procedure that requires anesthesia.”

The WV CRNAA has informed their employer, Capital Anesthesia Solution, of the strike and says they are willing to bargain every day until they reach an agreement.

“The CRNAs are employed by Capital Anesthesia Solutions, not Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Bargaining is between Capital Anesthesia Solutions and the Wyoming Valley Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Association; Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is not a party to the negotiations,” said Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

“We are losing staff to neighboring facilities because we are treated unfairly, and that affects patient care,” says Nancy Dines, Vice President of WV CRNAA. “We continue to urge management to put patients before profits, and we are hopeful they will do that on Friday.”

There is one bargaining date scheduled on Friday, January 28, the final day of Nation CRNA Week.