BOSTON – Tufts Medical Center nurses, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will try to deliver a giant $96 million check representing the $11 million in immediate and $85 million in pension liability savings to the hospital on Friday, July 14. Locked out by Tufts for four days, nurses who want to be caring for their patients will highlight a reasonable contract proposal rejected by management that would fund staffing improvements.
Tufts nurses had proposed a possible pension solution that would involve freezing the existing defined benefit plan but only if the hospital agreed to convert all nurses to a Taft-Hartley, multi-employer pension plan. This option would have generated substantial hospital savings that could be used to fund staffing improvements to protect safe patient care, as well as ensure market competitive wages for nurses. Tufts management rejected the proposal despite knowing it would save Tufts $96 million overall.
"Tufts wants hundreds of our nurses to give up long-earned pension benefits and yet also rejects modest staffing improvements to protect patient care,” said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, an OR nurse and bargaining unit co-chair. "Tufts nurses want to be inside the hospital caring for our patients. Instead we are locked out. We are using this time to bring attention to our common-sense pension proposal. Our proposal would save Tufts $11 million now and $85 million in pension liabilities – money that can be used to ensure safe patient care. Why won’t Tufts management agree?"
$96 Million Pension Savings Check Delivery
When: Friday, July 14 at 4 p.m.
Where: At Tufts Medical Center at 800 Washington St. in Boston.
What: Tufts nurses will attempt to deliver the $96 million pension savings check to the hospital, which has rejected their proposal in the past. Nurses would prefer to be inside the hospital caring for their patients. Instead, locked out by Tufts, they will reiterate their offer of $96 million in pension savings to fund patient care and other contract proposals.
Key Facts on Multi-Employer RN Pension Plan
If the 340+ nurses currently in the defined benefit pension transitioned to the proposed Taft-Hartley plan, Tufts would immediately save $11 million plus an additional $85 over time in liability costs. The hospital has not denied this during their negotiations with the nurses.
· The nurses’ Taft-Harley proposal is a reasonable alternative to freezing the defined benefit and transitioning to a 403(b). Although the Taft-Harley would provide some RNs with a smaller benefit amount than the current DB, that benefit would be guaranteed and safe from market fluctuations. Meanwhile hundreds of other Tufts RNs would see an increase in their contribution rate, thereby making their pension benefit more competitive with what other local hospitals offer their nurses.
- There is a guaranteed benefit under the nurses’ proposed pension plan. The plan is also 100 percent funded.
- The nurses’ proposed plan design avoids the design problems that plagued many older similar pension plans. There is no lump sum payout option that older multi-employer pension plans had that can destabilize a fund. The employee retirement accrual is also based on an individual’s annual earnings. So a member who works 40 hours a week over their career and a member who works 20 hours a week will have different guaranteed retirement benefits.
Tufts nurses began an historic one-day strike Wednesday morning as Tufts management failed to agree to a fair settlement that ensures patients have the highly skilled nursing care they deserve. The strike – the first by nurses in Boston in 30 years and largest nurses’ strike in Massachusetts history – ended at 6:59 a.m. on July 13. Tufts management then began locking out nurses following the 24-hour strike for an additional four days, bringing in mercenary replacement nurses who do not know Tufts patients, staff, the hospital or community.
Read more about the RN issues related to the strike and the concerns Tufts RNs have with the mercenary replacement nurses here: http://massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/10555
Follow live updates from Tufts RNs by going to the below social media and web links.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.