When: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 (and every day thru Dec. 21)
Time: 4 – 5 p.m.
Where: Outside the Entrance to UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial Hospital campus at 119 Belmont St., Worcester, MA
As the UMass Medical Center nurses’ negotiations for a new contract drag on into the holiday season, and UMass management continues to refuse to heed the concerns of the nurses about poor staffing conditions at the facility which research shows puts patients at risk, the UMMMC nurses are conducting daily picketing from 4 to 5 p.m. outside the entrance to the UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Memorial Hospital campus, what the nurses are calling the “12 Days of UMass Grinchmas!”
The daily picketing, which began on Dec. 10 and will continue through Dec. 21, is being held for one hour each day. Nurses will hold Grinch-themed signs and candles, and sing some special UMass-oriented Grinchmas carols as part of their protest against deteriorating staffing conditions and management’s lack of concern for its patients and employees.
The picketing was called after the 2,000 nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association on the University Hospital and Memorial/Hahnemann campuses of UMMMC have been engaged in more than a year of negotiations for a new union contract, with little progress on a number of key issues, including the nurses’ call for safer RN staffing levels. The nurses are outraged about deteriorating working conditions, a lack of resources, and untenable patient loads following more than six layoffs involving hundreds of RNs and support staff over the last two years.
Adding insult to injury, in addition to forcing nurses to work under increasingly stressful and dangerous conditions, UMMMC management is also seeking to gut the nurses’ benefits package. Once again UMMMC wants to cut the nurses pension benefit, an issue that drove the University-campus nurses to wage a five-hour strike back in 2007. Management also wants to increase the cost of the nurses’ health insurance and to cut their time off benefits. These cuts are being made in the wake of the hospital’s posting of more than $87 million in profits in the past two years.