News & Events

Media Coverage of Jan. 19th Press Conferences

We had a good day yesterday in generating media coverage for our press conferences outside Tufts and St. Vincent. Below is some of the coverage. Not shown here is a report on Fox 25 News last night during the 6 p.m. broadcast (and the station was teasing that story all morning long), Also not show is a great photo of the Tufts event in the Metro section of the Boston Globe. If you click on the link above the NECN story you can view the video of the news report. Also note that Tufts Medical Center’s Barbara Tiller and MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams were featured in a long interview on the Jeff Santos Show on AM 1510, which aired on Monday. Follow this link to listen to that interview:

New England Cable News Story

Nurses speak out about staffing conditions

NECN: Kenneth Craig, Worcester, Mass.) – Outside Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester Wednesday, union nurses spoke out about what they say are dangerous patient conditions at area hospitals.

"Staffing conditions at this hospital are deplorable. Nurses are caring for too many patients on a daily basis, " said Marlena Pellegrino, who has been a nurse at Saint Vincent Hospital for the last 32 years.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association held two events Wednesday: one outside Tufts Medical Center in Boston, the other outside Saint Vincent in Worcester.

Union leaders are hoping to rally support for proposed legislation: two separate bills that would set patient limits for nurses and end mandatory overtime requirements at hospitals. They say the problem is statewide.

"They need to know that patients are suffering, that the industry is out of control and that we need to do something," Massachusetts Nurses Association Vice President Karen Coughlin said.

Following their rally, some of the nurses boarded a chartered bus headed for Beacon Hill where they’ll try to convince lawmakers to help take on the fight. It’s something they’ve done time and time again over the last 15 years.

"Just recently over the last few years it passed two years in a row in the house but it didn’t get through the senate," Coughlin said.

According to the MNA, Saint Vincent has some of the most dangerous conditions in the Bay State. But in a statement released by a Saint Vincent spokesperson, the hospital is proud of their patient safety record and the MNA statements, "have more to do with their contract and their proposed state-wide nurse/patient staffing legislation than patient safety at Saint Vincent Hospital."

"In fact, Saint Vincent Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the state with staffing guidelines written into its contract with the MNA and stringent restrictions on mandatory overtime."

Contract negotiations are ongoing at the hospital. The next round of talks will be held the afternoon of Wednesday, January 19th.

MNA nurses say if things don’t eventually change they may be forced to strike.

Boston Metro Story–nurses-too-many-patients

Nurses: Too many patients

Massachusetts nurses are renewing a long-standing effort to implement nurse-to-patient limits with a rally outside various hospitals today including Tufts Medical Center.

“Nurses are trying to run around and put out fires instead of provide nursing care,” said Barbara Tiller, a 21-year veteran nurse who works at Tufts.

Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, a union representing 23,000 nurses, will rally for state legislation that would limit the number of patients a nurse can assist. The ratio would vary by unit, but MNA members are pushing for a 1:4 nurse-to-patient ratio.

The ratio legislation has failed to pass for about 15 years.

MNA officials cited layoffs and changes in care practice as causes that lead to nurses caring for up to eight patients at a time and performing other duties.

The nurses are in contract negotiations with the two hospitals where today’s rallies are planned, said David Schildmeier, a MNA spokesman.

Rally just a ‘tactic,’ Tufts says

Julie Jette, a Tufts spokeswoman, said there have not been wholesale layoffs of nurses or other staff and that today’s rally is a “tactic.”

“The Massachusetts Nurses Association plans to use our hospital as a prop to push its legislative agenda as part of a high-pressure bargaining tactic,” the statement said. More about nurses

Worcester Telegram & Gazette Story

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Nurse union says St. Vincent understaffed

WORCESTER — State and local union members of the Massachusetts Nursing Association will gather in front of St. Vincent Hospital this morning to draw attention to their concerns for patient safety at the hospital.

The news conference is to call attention to “dangerous staffing conditions that in the last year have resulted in more than 1,300 reports of unsafe situations” at St. Vincent Hospital and Tufts Medical Center, where another union rally will be held tomorrow.

The union is also pushing state legislation that would set “safe patient limits for patients.” The bill, which has been filed every year for a decade, has never passed both chambers of the Legislature.

The union rally is set to begin at 10 a.m. outside St. Vincent Hospital.

St. Vincent Hospital released a statement yesterday that linked the union’s demands to contract negotiations currently under way between the hospital and the union.

“We are actively engaged in contract negotiations with the MNA and have concluded that their recent statements about the quality of care at Saint Vincent Hospital have more to do with their contract and their proposed statewide nurse/patient staffing legislation than patient safety at Saint Vincent Hospital,” the hospital’s statement read. “In fact, Saint Vincent Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the state with staffing guidelines written into its contract with the MNA, and stringent restrictions on mandatory overtime.

“While we are disappointed in the timing of their activities, we will continue to negotiate in good faith at the bargaining table rather than in the media and look forward to the MNA’s response to the comprehensive proposal we presented to them on Friday, January 14.”

Worcester Business Journal Story

Nurses To Rally At St. Vincent
By Livia Gershon
Worcester Business Journal Staff Writer

As they continue their quest to mandate nurse-patient ratios at hospitals in the state, the nurses of the Massachusetts Nurses Association are using Saint Vincent Hospital as an example of the problems they say need to be addressed.

The MNA will hold a press conference outside the Worcester hospital Wednesday, along with a parallel rally at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, to call for specific staffing ratios and an end to forced overtime for nurses.

The union said nurses at Saint Vincent and Tufts are attempting to include rules in their union contracts limiting the number of patients a nurse can be responsible for. Because of the lack of state law on the subject, the union said the last resort for nurses is to hold strikes to push for staffing language in the contracts.

The press conferences will take place Wednesday at 10 a.m.