The Brigham nurses protest is the latest manifestation of a state and national nursing and patient care crisis as hospital corporation’s like MGB Corporate place their drive to maximize profits over the needs of nurses and patients
BOSTON, Mass. – The registered nurses of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, February 1. The action is not part of contract negotiations and is instead aimed at shining a spotlight on worsening patient care and working conditions during a visit from representatives of the national nursing Magnet Recognition Program.
“Patients, nurses, and all frontline staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital desperately need changes that will make conditions safer and more respectful,” said Kelly Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse and BWH MNA Chair. “We will picket to hold Mass General Brigham accountable for throwing its corporate weight around and worsening the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than collaborate with nurses on how to overcome a staffing crisis, the hospital has been making unilateral decisions that disrupt our lives and ability to provide quality care.”
Informational Picket Details
Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Time: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Speaking portion approximately 1:30 p.m.
Location: Outside BWH at 75 Francis St., Boston, MA
In 2022, Brigham nurses filed 519 unsafe staffing reports documenting times when patient safety was jeopardized because there were not enough RNs or support staff available. The impact has been felt throughout the hospital, and especially in the emergency department, where dozens of patients who need a hospital bed wait for hours or days because there are not enough staff to care for them.
Despite the differences between hospital management and nurses, and the extreme pressure nurses have been under during the pandemic, they reached a contract agreement last year that Brigham nurses ratified in overwhelming numbers. Unfortunately, since that ratification, conditions inside the hospital have only gotten worse. And rather than work with nurses to address these problems, the hospital has chosen to undermine their union.
- Chronic unsafe staffing throughout the hospital.
- Unilateral decisions and refusal to bargain with all the elected nurses of the BWH MNA committee.
- Focusing on Magnet Recognition Program status when nurses’ voices are not being heard and patient care is suffering. The Magnet program is a controversial process where hospitals pay an agency to evaluate their nursing program and provide them with a designation that purports to show they value nurses, a recognition that would ring hollow given the concerns nurses are raising with this picket.
- Bringing in an HR executive with a background in union busting.
- Changing long-established scheduling practices to maximize profits at the expense of nurses’ personal time.
“We see a for-profit, corporate mindset infecting the Brigham, its labor-relations and the quality of our patient care conditions,” said Jim Mccarthy, a PACU nurse and BWH MNA Vice Chair. “With its constant expansion and ever-rising executive compensation, MGB is failing to prioritize frontline staff and patients. Our nurses are infuriated by these changes and are joining together on February 1 to stand up for what is right!”
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.