News & Events

Brockton Hospital Violates Nurses’ Contract with Unilateral Decision to Change Previously Negotiated Holiday Schedule

BROCKTON, Mass. – The 550 registered nurses at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, who are unionized with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, filed an unfair labor practice charge against hospital management on January 5, 2023. The charge is over a non-negotiated, unilateral change made by management to the nurses’ established holiday schedule. This decision is in clear violation of the nurses’ existing union contract, as well as labor law.

Specifically, management recently announced that Patriots Day would no longer be recognized as a holiday and instead the holiday would be swapped for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

For years, the nurses at Brockton Hospital have proposed, as part of their contract talks, that Martin Luther King Jr. Day be added to the list of recognized holidays. But, for years, hospital management has rejected that proposal.

“We strongly believe that Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be a recognized and celebrated holiday at Brockton Hospital. In fact, we have tried, unsuccessfully, to negotiate that into our contract for years,” said Nicole Tanner, RN and co-chairperson of the hospital’s MNA bargaining unit. “We are not in disagreement on the addition of MLK Day as a holiday. We disagree on how the hospital went about doing this — without negotiating and while the contract is officially closed.”

The nurses’ union was originally told by management that the holiday change would not affect them, that it was only intended for non-union staff. But management ultimately moved ahead with a hospital-wide rollout, leaving nurses struggling to adjust their calendars and personal commitments as a result.

“For any and all changes to a union contract, there is a legally-protected process that needs to be followed,” added Tanya Reynolds, RN and union co-chairperson. “Management 100 percent did not follow the process when they made this change, and, as a result, we are 100 percent confident we will win this unfair labor practice charge.”

For the nurses, management’s decision to violate the contract and labor law so egregiously is worthy of head scratching. “Nationwide, there are reports of how beaten down and fed up nurses are with a healthcare system that has abused and neglected them and their patients,” added Cynthia Boyd, RN and a union co-chairperson. “So many of our colleagues already feel disrespected and taken advantage of. For management to pull a stunt like this while so many of us are at the ends of our ropes is imprudent. It builds no goodwill, and it is a waste of everyone’s time, energy, and resources.”

The nurses’ contract reopens in 2024, and they believe that is the right time to address recognizing MLK Day as the