News & Events

Quincy Medical nurses come back to the table

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By Jon Chesto
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Mar 18, 2011 @ 01:58 AM

QUINCY — Quincy Medical Center’s nurses are coming back to the table after all.

After breaking off negotiations with hospital management until a federal mediator could get involved, the Massachusetts Nurses Association has agreed to resume contract talks.

Sandra McGunigle, a spokeswoman for Quincy Medical Center, said the hospital was informed Wednesday that the union would agree to meet Monday. Talks had been scheduled to take place that day, but union officials were frustrated with the progress and told the hospital of their demand for a federal mediator. However, a mediator wasn’t expected to be free until April.

David Schildmeier, spokesman for the Canton-based union, said union officials decided to give management an opportunity to offer a proposal that addresses the union’s concerns next week rather than waiting for the mediator. Schildmeier said the union is concerned that hospital managers are trying to persuade the nurses to give up certain rights to file grievances, a method to enforce nurse-patient staffing guidelines spelled out in a previous contract.

The negotiations are taking place as an investment banking firm hired by Quincy Medical Center explores strategic options for the hospital, including a possible sale.

The management was embroiled in a contentious battle with the union last year, one that eventually ended in a contract agreement in September in which the nurses accepted a temporary 3 percent pay cut. That contract, which covers about 260 nurses, expired Feb. 28.

The hospital management is also planning to negotiate a new contract this spring with the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 367. McGunigle said a separate contract for workers represented by the Service Employees International Union 1199 has been extended from the end of March to the end of October.

Jon Chesto may be reached at