This is the second round of talks since the nurses announced their intent to Strike on March 8
Nurses hope Tenet will work with the nurses to reach a meaningful resolution to the ongoing patient care crisis at the hospital to ensure safer staffing for all the patients at the facility
WORCESTER, Mass. – The nurses of St. Vincent Hospital and Tenet Healthcare will resume negotiations on Wednesday, March 3 at 9:30 a.m. for a new contract that the nurses believe must include desperately needed staffing improvements to ensure safer care for all the patients at the facility to avert a pending strike.
This would be the second round of negotiations following the nurses’ announcement last week of their intent to strike on March 8, and it follows talks on Monday evening where Tenet, for the first time in 17 months of negotiations, presented a proposal to address the nurses staffing concerns. Unfortunately, their proposal only addressed staffing on two units, with no changes to dangerous staffing conditions on 10 other units where the majority of patients are cared for, including the critical care units, emergency department, maternity, behavioral health and other medical surgical floors. The proposal also failed to include any increases in support staff, such as secretaries and patient care assistants on the units, as well as patient care observers to watch over patients at high risk for a fall so that nurses can focus on providing care to acutely ill patients.
In response to the proposal, the nurses intend to present a comprehensive counter proposal to share with Tenet on Wednesday in the hope that further negotiation could result in a reasonable solution to the growing patient safety crisis at the hospital.
“We are committed to continuing the process started on Monday to reach an agreement to avert a strike,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, co-chair of the bargaining unit. “But Tenet’s initial proposal failed to provide us with what we need to keep our patients safe, and if nothing changes, we will be forced to strike as our patients lives are on the line without the improvements we are seeking.”
The 800 SVH nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted overwhelmingly on Feb. 10 to authorize the strike and last week issued the required notice to conduct an open-ended strike beginning at 6 a.m. on March 8.
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.