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updated: 3/19/2014 5:30 PM

Maryville nurses and management return to the table Friday

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Negotiating teams for the management of the Maryville Behavioral Health Hospital in Des Plaines and a union representing nurse employees will be back at the negotiating table Friday to try to come to agreement on staffing levels and salaries.

The discussions with a federal mediator, expected to be the 28th formal negotiating session since February 2013, follow a five-day strike March 10-14 to protest what nurses contend are unsafe staffing levels at the facility, which provides inpatient psychiatric care for children, adolescents and young adults between 3 and 20 years old.

The nurses, represented by the Illinois Nurses Association, voted to certify an "unfair labor practice" strike, which by law, can only last up to five days.

Nurses were back at work starting with the 11 p.m. shift on March 14, according to union spokesman Chris Martin.

Maryville spokesman John Gorman said "a very small percentage of nurses didn't show up for work" during the strike; he said 81 percent of union nurses were at work on March 13.

Maryville officials say the facility is safe, and they cannot afford to meet the nurses' demands on salaries, benefits and staffing levels.

Nurses, who unionized in August 2012, are negotiating their first labor contract at the hospital.

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