RNs await Tenet to finally address nurses call to increase staffing levels to address a growing patient safety crisis and exodus of nurses from the hospital due to untenable care conditions
WORCESTER, Mass. – Tenet Healthcare has informed the federal mediator that they are ready to resume negotiations with the St. Vincent Hospital (SVH) nurses’ negotiating committee today at 6 p.m., which would be the first negotiating session since the nurses issued their official notice to strike the hospital on March 8 over unsafe staffing and patient care conditions at the Worcester-based acute care facility.
“We are always ready and willing to negotiate with management to reach a settlement for a fair contract to avert the need to strike,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, a frontline nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “We look forward to hearing from Tenet and hope they are finally ready to come to the table with a serious proposal to increase staffing and provide nurses the resources we need to provide the care and protection our patients expect and deserve. If that is the case, we will negotiate as long as it takes to reach an agreement.”
The 800 SVH nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted overwhelmingly on Feb. 10 to authorize the strike, which was followed by the 31st negotiation session with management on Feb. 11, where management for the 31st time refused to engage in any discussion of the nurses’ proposals to improve conditions that the nurses have been trying to address with management for two years, poor conditions that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Adding insult to injury, the same day nurses voted to authorize the strike, Tenet announced annual profits of more than $400 million.
In the last year alone, nurses have filed more than 500 official “unsafe staffing” reports where they informed management in real time that patient care conditions jeopardized the safety of their patients. The nurses also report their patients in Worcester are experiencing an increase in patient falls, an increase in patients suffering from preventable bed sores, potentially dangerous delays in patients receiving needed medications and other treatments – all due to lack of appropriate staffing, excessive patient assignments, and cuts to valuable support staff. As a result of these untenable conditions, more than 100 nurses have left the facility, many to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, which employs many of the staffing practices the nurses are attempting to establish through this negotiation.
For a more detailed review of the staffing crisis, efforts by nurses to convince Tenet to address the crisis, as well as proposals nurses are seeking to improve patient care, click here to view a previous press release on the matter.
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.