St. Vincent Nurses on Strike for Safer Patient Care Conditions Since March 8 Have Received Tremendous Support from Colleagues, Patients, Elected Officials, Unions and Community Members
WORCESTER, Mass. – In solidarity with St. Vincent Hospital nurses on strike for patient safety and in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Rep. Denise Garlick will come from her hometown of Needham and nurses will travel from Mercy Medical Center in Springfield to the picket line in Worcester on Wednesday to lend their support to nurses standing up to the corporate greed of Tenet Healthcare.
The gathering of nurses and Rep. Garlick, herself a registered nurse and longtime advocate for nurses and patients at the State House, highlights the tremendous public support the 800 St. Vincent nurses have received since beginning an open-ended strike on March 8. On Tuesday night, the Worcester City Council planned to take up a resolution in support of nurses and other dedicated staff. On Saturday, caregivers with UFCW 1145 began picketing and last Friday nurses were joined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congressman James McGovern, and former Congressman Joe Kennedy. Support has poured in from around the world on social media and people have travelled from across Massachusetts and the country to join nurses on their strike line.
St. Patrick’s Day Strike Event
When: Wednesday, March 17 at 12 p.m.
Where: Outside the Summer Street entrance of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester
Who: Nurses from Mercy Medical Center in Springfield and Rep. Denise Garlick, 13th Norfolk District (Needham Dover Medfield), Commissioner on Permanent Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and Chair of Committee on Bills for Third Reading.
“St. Vincent nurses feel tremendous appreciation for the outpouring of support for our fight to improve patient care conditions,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, a frontline nurse at the hospital and Co-Chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA). “Tenet Healthcare sits alone as a for-profit corporation making decisions based on its bottom line and how it can enrich its shareholders. Nurses are proud to take a stand for patient safety with the backing of so many amazing supporters.”
The 800 SVH nurses, who are represented by the 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. The decision to strike followed a concerted effort over the last two years by the nurses to convince Tenet to improve the patient care conditions at the facility, 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 600 official “unsafe staffing” reports (more than 110 such reports have been filed since Jan. 1, 2021) in which nurses 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.
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.