2013 News

Negotiations Dates Set With Federal Mediator - March 25 with Memorial Team & March 26 with University Team


UMMMC Contract Alert!
Negotiation Dates Set With Federal Mediator
March 25 with Memorial Team
& March 26 with University Team
Management has finally agreed to go back to the negotiating table with a federal mediator, but continues to insist that negotiations continue at two separate tables.  Negotiations will be held on March 25 with  MNA negotiating team for the Memorial/Hahnemann Campus and on March 26 with the MNA team for the University campus.  The sessions will be held from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. with the location to be determined.  These sessions are open to members and we encourage those who are interested to attend, even if it is for a portion of the sessions, to show your support for a fair contract that protects our patients and our benefits.  See and hear for yourself what management is saying and doing as we move forward in this process. 
It is our sincere hope that management will change its positions and negotiate earnestly for a settlement, but the prospects for that happening appear slim at this point in time.  Therefore, we believe it may take a more concerted effort on our part to convince them to do the right thing, including the possibility of holding a vote to authorize a one-day strike.  Based on attendance at open meetings and ongoing polling of our membership, there is overwhelming support for this step, but again, our primary goal is to reach a settlement without having to take this action.  Whether we move in that direction will depend on the actions and behavior of management.
Your Leaders Sent a Letter to the New CEO Requesting a Meeting to Discuss Members' Staffing Concerns
As you are aware, Dr. Eric Dickson has joined UMMMC as the new president and CEO. Last week, the co chairs of our MNA local bargaining units sent a certified letter to Dr. Dickson welcoming him to his new position, briefing him on our concerns about the dangerous patient care conditions at our facilities, and requesting a meeting with him where we can discuss our serious concerns for our patients and the future of our medical center. The text of this letter can be found on the reverse side of this flyer. It is our hope that Dr. Dickson, who has practiced alongside many of our members in the emergency department, will want to hear from your union about issues that impact the quality and safety of patient care.
What You Can Do
In the meantime, we encourage all members to stand together and to show their solidarity for this cause by:
  • Wearing black and/or blue scrubs every Wednesday, what we are calling MNA Black and Blue Day, symbolizing the beating management is giving nurses through their dangerous staffing practices and onerous contract proposals.
  • Wearing your UMMMC Nurses Stronger Together Button every day. 
  • Staying informed by signing up for our email blasts, or by visiting and joining our  "University Messenger" Facebook group page, located at:  https://www.facebook.com/massnurses#!/groups/152126544939667/?fref=t  or our "Memorial-Hahnemann Messenger Facebook group page, located at:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/529295190425023/?fref=ts.
  • Attending our open membership meetings (see below) and making sure you bring members of your floor or unit to these meetings (please note we have added an earlier meeting time for 3-11 nurses).
Open Membership Meetings to Stay Informed
Plan Next Steps
Dates: Wednesday,  March 6 , March 27
Times: 1-2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Location: Coral Seafood Restaurant
225 Shrewsbury St., Worcester 


Letter to New CEO Requesting Meeting
to Discuss Members Staffing Concerns
February 26, 2013

Dr. Eric Dickson, President and CEO
UMass Memorial Health Care
Biotech One
365 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Dear Dr. Dickson:
We are writing on behalf of the 2,000 frontline registered nurse who work at UMass Memorial Medical Center to extend a warm welcome and our heart-felt hopes for your success in your new position and the challenging task we all face in restoring stability and trust in an institution we have devoted our careers to building and sustaining, some of us for more than 30 years.
As nurses, we provide 90 percent of the clinical care patients receive at this facility; we see more and know more about the inner workings and true outcomes of care at UMMMC than any other employee group or care provider; and as such, we believe we can play a critical role in working with you in fulfilling the "excellent prognosis" you affixed to our institution in your recent letter to staff.
However, as true colleagues in this endeavor, we must be honest about our own current "nursing assessment" of the state of affairs at this facility at this time. To put it simply, if UMass Medical Center was a patient in our ED, we would be calling a code. In the last two years, we have witnessed a wholesale attack on patient care services on all campuses, undergone a series of layoffs, staffing and service cuts that have damaged our ability to provide high quality safe patient care. We have read dozens of letters and emails from our administration trumpeting "efficiency and productivity" initiatives, Toyota lean, kaizen and countless other "process improvements" that for nurses on the frontlines, have meant nothing but a continuous degradation of patient care, ultimately resulting in this institution having among the worst records in the state for hospital readmissions.
In May and June, we scheduled meetings with our management teams on both campuses where we presented dozens of research studies underscoring the dangers of the staffing and patient care changes being implemented at this facility.
At those meetings we had dozens of front line nurse's present harrowing testimony of the worsening patient care conditions on their units, and nothing was done to address those concerns. In fact, the only reaction was another round of layoffs and staffing cuts.
As a frontline clinician, someone who has actually put his hands on the chest of dying patients alongside many of our colleagues, we are hoping you, can comprehend the gravity of our assessment of the current conditions and make a concerted, good faith effort to address our concerns. To that end we would request a meeting with you as soon as possible where we can openly share our concerns. We understand that there may be concerns about engaging in such a meeting given that we are currently engaged in contract negotiations. We do not want to negotiate with you we simply would like the opportunity to address important issues relating to patient care and conditions in the hospitals directly with you as the new CEO.
Again, we wish great success in your new position, and look forward to meeting with you soon to begin the challenging work ahead.
Margaret McLoughlin, RN             Lynne Starbard, RN
Co-Chair, University                     Co-Chair, Memorial/Hahnemann 

Ellen Smith, RN                          Colleen Wolfe, RN
Co-Chair, University                     Co-Chair, Memorial/Hahnemann