Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital locked in a contract battle with Dallas-based Tenet Health Care won a set of staffing concessions during a return to the negotiating table, but say the proposal wasn't enough to avoid a strike planned for March 8. "We are committed to continuing the process started tonight to reach an agreement to avert a strike," said Saint Vincent Nurse Marlena Pellegrino. "But this proposal fails to provide us with what we need to keep our patients safe, and if nothing changes, we will be forced to strike as our patients lives are on the line without the improvements we are seeking." Carolyn Jackson, Saint Vincent CEO, said in a statement that the hospital's proposal is "an improvement of our existing, contracted staffing levels, which are already considered among the best of all Massachusetts hospitals…In sum, it's an outstanding offer intended to attract and retain a qualified nursing staff to serve our community." The offer includes wage increases, a dedicated critical care float position and improved staffing ratios, according to the hospital. The nurses are pushing for better staffing measures as they say patient care has suffered due to overstretched workers who simply don't have enough time to dedicate the necessary attention to sick patients.
Just days ahead of a planned strike, nurses at St. Vincent Hospital and its owner Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare remain locked in a standoff over contract negotiations that now has the Worcester hospital preparing to bring in replacements. After the hospital on Monday made an offer to increase some staffing levels and pay, the nurses and management returned to the negotiating table on Wednesday. The 800 nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association presented a counterproposal to boost staffing levels higher, but the sides did not reach an agreement. A strike is set to start at 6 a.m. Monday unless a deal can be reached before then.
St. Vincent Hospital nurses and the hospital management team will start talking again on Monday, returning to the bargaining table for the first round of negotiations since the Worcester nurses launched their strike eight weeks ago. The 800 nurses have been on strike since March 8 as they continue to battle Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare over better staffing measures. A federal mediator scheduled the new round of negotiations as Tenet plans to present an "adjustment" to its most recent proposal, Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson said Sunday. "It would be great if they agree to what we put on the table," Jackson said of the nurses who are with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. If the nurses don't say yes to the adjustments, then Jackson hopes they would present a "solid counterproposal" so the two sides can quickly reach a deal.
Nurses at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester walked off the job this morning, staging a strike over a stand-off in contract negotiations with hospital owner, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. "This is a strike for the safety of our patients and our community" said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, co-chair of the local bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. "We are sad to see that Tenet holds so little value for our patients, yet we are resolved to do whatever it takes for as long as it take to protect our patients, as it is safer to strike now than allow Tenet to continue endangering our patients every day on every shift. As we begin our a strike, we are always ready to get back to the table to negotiate whenever Tenet is ready do the same." St. Vincent's Hospital arranged to bring in replacement workers as the potential strike loomed.
The almost four-month-long nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital will drag on, as the Worcester nurses on Sunday called a new offer from the hospital "not a serious proposal." The hospital over the weekend sent over a third proposal to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, saying this third offer "maintains generous wage increases, health insurance premium improvements for some nurses, and security enhancements." This offer would also boost resource nurse staffing, limiting how many patients these nurses can take. But after Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare sent over the proposal to the nurses through the federal mediator, the Massachusetts Nurses Association said it "provides no meaningful steps in response to the nurses staffing concerns." "Simply put, this is one step forward and two steps back," said Marlena Pellegrino, a longtime nurse at St. Vincent Hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit.