WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — After announcing 2,000 nurses in Kansas and Texas would be participating in a one-day strike, National Nurses United and the National Nurses Organizing Committee say Ascension is threatening a lockout of those who are planning to participate.

A news release from NNU/NNOC says registered nurses represented by the two organizations were informed Friday they would be locked out for an additional three days following the planned strike on June 27.

Ascension said in a news release Friday night the hospital is “contractually required to commit to a minimum of four days of work for any registered nursing staff replaced, starting from the first day of a strike.”

Ascension said in the release any registered nurses who choose to work on June 27 will not be replaced. Registered nurses who are not working on June 27 will be temporarily replaced until the morning of July 1, when the “replacement agency contractual obligation is fulfilled.”

A news release from June 15 says nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, St. Francis Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Wichita informed Ascension of the one-day strike 12 days in advance to allow the hospital time to allow for alternative plans to be made for patient care.

National Nurses United said short-staffing by hospital management at Ascension — which allegedly began “well before” the COVID-19 pandemic — makes it challenging for nurses to provide the highest quality of care.

In a news release sent out on Thursday, Ascension said it has a plan lined up for the nurses who decide to participate in the strike.

Patient safety is our top priority, and Ascension Via Christi is well-prepared to remain open and care for our patients during this work stoppage event. We have a comprehensive contingency plan in place to ensure there is no disruption in care or service for those we are privileged to serve.

Ascension Via Christi