News & Events

Registered Nurses of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley Vote Overwhelmingly to Join Massachusetts Nurses Association and Unite to Improve Conditions for Patients and Caregivers

The National Labor Relations Board counted the votes of DFCI — Merrimack Valley nurses on July 8 following a mail-in election and found they voted by a wide margin to join the MNA

METHUEN, Mass. – The approximately 28 registered nurses of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley have voted overwhelmingly to form a union and join the Massachusetts Nurses Association, empowering them to speak up together and secure lasting improvements that will benefit patients, DFCI – Merrimack Valley nurses and the community.

The DFCI – Merrimack Valley nurses will be represented by the MNA following an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. DFCI – Merrimack Valley is part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute headquartered in Boston, where the MNA represents approximately 580 registered nurses. The election took place from June 16 to July 7. Vote counting on July 8 by NLRB officials was observed via Zoom by DFCI – Merrimack Valley nurses and representatives of DFCI. Nurses voted 87% to join the MNA.

The successful election by DFCI – Merrimack Valley nurses builds on other recent organizing victories by MNA nurses and health professionals, including at Berkshire VNA, Milford Regional Medical Center and the VNA of Boston. The growing interest among frontline caregivers in forming unions with their colleagues has been driven by unsafe patient care and working conditions created by our profit-driven healthcare system and made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The common experiences of uncertainty, danger and moral injury exacerbated by the pandemic have empowered nurses and healthcare professionals to stand together and fight on behalf their patients and each other.

“Nurses at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley work tirelessly to keep our patients safe while playing a key role in providing advanced cancer and blood disorder treatments,” said Kathleen Mitchell, FNP-BC, AOCNP at DFCI – Merrimack Valley. “We are excited as newly unionized nurses to advocate together for safe, high-quality experiences for our patients and a positive working environment for all of us.”

“Throughout the pandemic, we have put our safety and the health of our families on the line to continue providing care despite enormous challenges,” said Cindy Maio, RN, BSN, OCN at DFCI – a Merrimack Valley. “We have identified ways to make improvements and are excited to use our equal seat at the table to benefit our patients and nurses.” 

DFCI — MV opened in 2020 with 24 exam rooms and 32 infusion bays. The location offers expanded cancer and blood disorder care and outpatient services for adult patients in the region.

The MNA is the largest union and professional organization of nurses and healthcare professionals in Massachusetts. It represents more than 25,000 members in healthcare facilities across the state, including nurses at 70 percent of the Commonwealth’s acute care hospitals. The MNA is led by a board of directors that is directly elected by its membership and consists of frontline nurses and healthcare professionals.


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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 25,000 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.