St. Vincent Hospital Nurses to Conduct Strike Authorization Vote on April 8 As Contract Talks Stall Over RN Staffing and Patient Care Concerns
M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2011
CONTACTS: Marlena Pellegrino, RN (508) 963-3801 Marie Ritacco, RN (508) 831-8053 David Schildmeier (781) 249-0430
St. Vincent Hospital Nurses to Conduct Strike Authorization Vote on April 8
As Contract Talks Stall Over RN Staffing and Patient Care Concerns
Where: MNA Region 2 Headquarters, 365 Shrewsbury St. in Worcester
When: Vote will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The outcome of the vote will be announced at 9 p.m.
Who: 740 RNs at the hospital are eligible to vote. MNA will make nurses available throughout the day for interviews with the media.
After more than 16 months of negotiations, including yet another session held this week with a Federal mediator, the registered nurses of St. Vincent Hospital have called for a vote by the membership on Friday, April 8, 2011 to authorize a one-day strike. Talks continue to stall over hospital management’s refusal to improve unsafe patient care conditions at the hospital, which are compromising the quality of care patients are receiving at this major medical center.
These 740 St. Vincent nurses, who are locked in a protracted dispute with Vanguard Health Care, the for-profit owner of the hospital, are working under the worst RN staffing levels in the city. In the last 16 months nurses have filed more than 1,000 official reports of unsafe conditions at the facility (an average of more than two a day). To address the crisis, the nurses are seeking contract language to guarantee safer staffing levels in the hospital.
“The nurses of St. Vincent Hospital simply cannot deliver safe patient care under the current staffing conditions at this hospital, in fact, it is not exaggeration to say that every day, on every shift, patients at this hospital are being placed in jeopardy because their nurses have too many patients to care for at one time,” said Marlena Pellegrino. “We have been negotiating with the hospital for months over these issues, yet they still refuse to adequately address our concerns. While we don’t want to strike, we cannot allow the safety of our patients to continue to be compromised.”
The vote does not mean the nurses will strike immediately. It gives the negotiating committee the authorization to call a one-day strike if and when they feel it is necessary. Once the committee issues its official notice to strike, the hospital will then have 10 days before the nurses will go out on strike.
The nurses began negotiating a new contract with Vanguard management in December of 2009 and a total of 36 negotiating sessions have been held to date. The current contract expired on Dec. 31, 2009 and has been extended by mutual agreement until April 19. The parties are scheduled to meet next on April 13.
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