Support the QMC Nurses’ Strike For Safe Patient Care
at Steward-Quincy Medical Center, April 11
Come show support for Steward QMC MNA members
as they take a stand for patient care on Thursday, April 11.
On March 19, 94% of our members at QMC (with 90% casting ballots)
voted to authorize a one-day strike to protest management’s refusal
to bargain over a safe staffing plan.
Come and Show Your Support!
Date: Thursday, April 11. Strike begins at 6 a.m.
(We return to work at 6a.m. Friday, April 12).
Time: Come all the time/any time. There will also be a Rally at 12 Noon
Location: Quincy Medical Center, 114 Whitwell St, Quincy
Who to Bring:Yourself, fellow health care workers, family, and friends!
Excerpts from MNA’s Press Release on the Strike
After filing more than 150 reports of what RNs consider to be unsafe patient care and greater patient risk with the hope that hospital administrators would negotiate a safe staffing plan to rectify the situation, which they did not, 94% of the nurses voted in favor of the strike, with 90% of the Mass Nurses Association members at the Hospital participating in the one day secret ballot vote.
The long-standing patient safety concerns at the hospital turned into full blown crisis on February 17 when Cerberus-Steward, the for-profit owner of the hospital, shut down a 40-bed nursing unit. As a result, nurses report that as many as a dozen patients per day are being "boarded" in the hospital’s emergency department (ED), sometimes for 24 hours or more under conditions the nurses consider to be unsafe.
"Our members have had enough," said Paula Ryan, RN, chair of the MNA local bargaining unit. "We have attempted to negotiate for months with management. We have presented written reports; we have told them we are worried that there are imminent risks of negative patient outcomes. They have refused to respond except to say that this is a financial decision. We feel that we have a duty to our patients, our practice and to each other to take action. We also consider it to be our duty to the future of this hospital that we love. I have been a nurse here for 45 years. I received my RN training here, and had my children here. This is our hospital and we want it to succeed. But when you find yourself to be in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. We are at the point where we have to say ‘stop’ ".
Since the closing of the medical-surgical unit, ED nurses report being put in the position of providing types of care for which they are not equipped for patients who have been "admitted" to the hospital as ICU, Medical Surgical or Telemetry patients, but who, in reality, are physically being housed in the ED. They also report that they are caring for admitted patients without bolstering the number of staff in the ED.
Stacy McEachern, RN and the MNA/NNU confronted management and asked how they expected the nurses to care for patients in the event of a "code," leaving no one else to care for other emergencies. Management has been non-responsive, saying they aren’t obligated to have that conversation.
"At a time when we already lack the staff needed to provide the care our patients deserve, Steward has inflamed the situation by closing a unit that we desperately need," said Ryan. "What is worse, they made this decision without fulfilling their obligation to meet with us and to ensure we had a staffing plan in place to ensure the safety of our patients." The MNA/NNU has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the hospital with the National Labor Relations Board over management’s refusal to negotiate over these and related issues.
According to retired QMC RN and MNA Board of Directors member, Sandy Eaton, "Among us are people who were born at QMC, whose children were born at QMC, whose families have been cared for at QMC, and who have provided care here for up to 45 years. We are deeply committed to the mission of this institution that we have helped to build and which we urgently want to see succeed. Recent facts paint a disturbing portrait of the effects of recent decisions of the hospital’s owners. This is our hospital, and we are speaking out for the quality of patient care and defending the hospital from harm so that it can thrive for decades into the future are, in our view, one in the same."