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Crowds of outraged nurses, health care professionals (HCPs) and health care activists picketed outside the corporate headquarters of Cerberus/Steward Health Care Systems on Oct. 28 to protest the company’s shameless pattern of breaking its promises and employing oppressive management practices that harm patients and those who care for them.
For more than a year the MNA nurses and HCPs who work at eight area hospitals* have been under the management of Cerberus/Steward, a multi-billion dollar, private equity firm. The crowd of MNA members and supporters who picketed in front of the corporate giant’s home at 500 Boylston St. wanted to draw public attention to several problem created by Cerberus/Steward that threaten the health and safety of patients as well as the security of members’ jobs and futures, including Cerberus/Steward’s well-established habits of:
- Threatening to close hospitals and eliminate essential programs/services
- Breaking its promise to provide its MNA nurses/HCPs with the fair pension plan that was negotiated
- Utilizing Wall Street-style management tactics that harm patients and those caring for them
- Firing nurses and union advocates without just cause
- Refusing to provide safe, appropriate staffing levels and equipment at its hospitals
As part of the day’s events, the nurses and HCPs also visited the Occupy Boston site in Dewey Square, drawing attention to the fact that Cerberus/Steward exemplifies the unbridled corporate greed that has undermined the middle class.
“We are here because your fight is our fight and because we are the ones who are caring for the 99 percent,” said Joan Ballantyne, an MNA member and staff nurse working a Cerberus/Steward Norwood Hospital. “We are also here and because our nurses who work for Cerberus/Steward, are working for a corporation that epitomizes 1 percent and that is actively working to undermine the middle class in America,”
“You are an inspiration to millions of Americans,” added Ballantyne, “and the nurses of Massachusetts stand with you in this fight for a just and equitable future for our country.”
* St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Norwood Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Morton Hospital, Quincy Medical Center, Carney Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and Merrimack Valley Hospital.