News & Events

Nurses Blast Management as UMass Memorial Reports a Profit of $6.2 Million, While Still Demanding More Than 50 Concessions

“They lied to us and now we know the truth”

The registered nurses’ negotiating committee at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus (UMMHC) blasted management at the latest round of talks on Friday, July 28, for their continued demand for more than 50 contract concessions in the wake of the hospital’s posting healthy profits. The latest fillings from the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Financing show that the UMMHC had a profit of $6.2 million for the first six months of this calendar year.

The MNA bargaining unit at the UMMHC – University Campus has been in negotiations for a new contract since last December, and the nurses claim management has lied to them according to Kathy Logan, RN chair of the unit. “Early in the process management showed us a presentation that claimed the hospital would lose $40 million this year, even though they made $94 million last year. They used this dire forecast as the reason they were asking for 50 major concessions while offering no pay increase. They lied to us and now we know the truth.”

Negotiations have not gone well. In response, hundreds of nurses picketed outside the facility last Monday. While the nurses have made several innovative offers that were tied to management withdrawing some of the most draconian concessions, the hospital administrators have refused to withdraw any of the 50 concessions. Still on the table are management proposals to strip the pension plan, increase health insurance costs, and take away eight sick days, three holidays and three personal days, while also cutting the nurses bi-annual step increases by 40 percent.

“Perhaps what is most disappointing about this newly discovered profit level is that we had to find it out on our own. The administration continued to act as if they were looking at a $40 million loss while they were doing quite well,” said Judy Locke, RN, vice chair of the unit. “Now we understand why the administrators refused to give us a copy of their dome and gloom report. We wanted to analyze their projections but they refused; and now we know why.”

If the hospital were to strip the nurses of the benefits that they have gained in the last 25 years of negotiations, Logan is fearful of the effect on patient care. “If we were to lose these benefits many of our nurses would leave and head to Boston. We are the only Level One Trauma Center in central Massachusetts; and if the nurses can’t get the pay and benefits here, they will take their vast experience to Boston. We all understand the negative effect that will have on patient care."