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Unionized RNs to Hand Deliver Hundreds of Petitions to Ralph de la Torre, CEO of Steward Health Care Today, Calls on Steward to Honor Their Agreements

Petitions call for management to honor their contractual commitment to provide RNs with Taft-Hartley Pension Plan; Nurses will also Testify at Public Hearing for Sale of Quincy Medical Center

CANTON, MA — A delegation of MNA nurses working at local Caritas/Steward hospitals will hand-deliver hundreds of signed petitions to Ralph de la Torre, CEO of Steward Health Care. The petitions call for Steward management to sign the documents that will establish the MNA Taft-Hartley multi-employer defined benefit pension plan as proposed and agreed to under the limited master agreement signed and ratified with Steward over nine months ago.

Since that time, Steward has:

  1. Failed to honor the nurses’ existing contract by failing to establish the agreed upon Taft-Hartley plan. .
  2. As of last month, Steward is proposing a completely different pension plan, even though nurses made agreements at the bargaining table on other matters in exchange for the MNA Taft Hartley Plan as originally proposed and ratified.

The petition delivery will occur the same day the attorney general holds a public hearing at Quincy High School specific to Steward’s interest in purchasing Quincy Medical Center, which recently filed for bankruptcy and is next on Steward’s list of hospitals to buy.

 MNA nurses will attend the Attorney General’s public hearing for the Steward purchase of Quincy Medical Center (QMC). Nurses will testify that, while they support the sale to save QMC; given the critical importance of this pension issue the MNA feels strongly that Steward should be accountable to its previous agreements with its existing facilities before acquisition of any new facilities are concluded.

The MNA which represents more than 1,800 registered nurses and health professionals at four Caritas/Steward facilities including St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester and Norwood Hospital, had completed and ratified an agreement with Steward in October of 2010.  The centerpiece of that agreement was the creation of a Taft Hartley, multiemployer defined benefit pension similar in design to the Central Pension Fund of the operating engineers.

“We would expect that the pension benefits for hundreds of workers who have devoted a career to caring for the patients in the Steward facilities is of major concern for the attorney general’s office,” said Betsy Prescott, RN, chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit at Caritas/Steward St. Elizabeth’s. “These petitions call upon Steward Health Care to end its delay in implementing our pension plan and to uphold the agreements they made in good faith.”