Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley nurses are advocating for a fair contract to help retain a strong workforce and high-quality cancer care to local patients
METHUEN, Mass. – A one-day strike by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) – Merrimack Valley registered nurses and nurse practitioners appears likely to begin at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27 because DFCI executives have refused to make reasonable compromises with nurses to reach a fair contract.
Instead, DFCI executives have threatened to lock out nurses after the strike and spend precious patient care resources on travelers. DFCI – MV nurses are seeking to secure existing benefits and receive competitive pay, which would enable them to provide the high-quality cancer care Merrimack Valley patients deserve. DFCI has made minimal movement since nurses announced their strike, including no agreement on benefits and daily overtime standards.
Strike and Lockout Details
Where: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Merrimack Valley at 5 Branch St., Methuen, MA.
Nurse Strike: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27
DFCI Lockout: Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29
“It is outrageous that Dana-Farber executives would rather spend untold money on travelers and lock us out rather than simply meet the needs of nurses and support the cancer care we provide in Merrimack Valley,” said Kate Mitchell, FNP-BC, AOCNP at DFCI – MV. “What does it say about Dana-Farber executives that they cannot compromise with nurses on wages and benefits, but they can bring in outside nurses to extend a one-day strike into three days? Dana-Farber’s decision confounds us and will undermine cancer care access in our community.”
Dana-Farber executives have forced DFCI – MV nurses into a position to strike even as Dana-Farber has announced plans to shift its affiliation from Brigham and Women’s Hospital to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and construct a freestanding inpatient cancer hospital. This plan will cost many millions of dollars, while DFCI refuses to make reasonable investments in its existing nurse and nurse practitioner workforce in Merrimack Valley.
“We are prepared to strike if necessary to protect cancer care quality and access for Merrimack Valley patients,” said Kerrin Albert, Infusion RN at DFCI – MV. “We would prefer that Dana-Farber executives simply meet the needs of our nurses so we can maintain a stable workforce, but instead they have put us in this position to fully exercise our rights as union members.”
“On September 27, we would prefer to be with our patients, guiding them through treatment and knowing Dana-Farber truly values the care we provide,” said Errin D’Arcangelo, Oncology Nurse Navigator at DFCI – MV. “If Dana-Farber Merrimack Valley nurses are on the strike line September 27, it will be because Dana-Farber executives have refused to commit to competitive pay and secure benefits as part of a fair contract.”
DFCI – MV nurses voted 97% to authorize a strike on August 2. DFCI – MV nurses held an informational picket on June 2 attended by nurses, community members, union supporters, and elected officials. Among those in attendance supporting the nurses were State Senator Pavel Payano, D-Lawrence, and State Representative Ryan Hamilton, D-Methuen.
“As you know, these healthcare professionals are on the front lines of caring for patients and liaising with families,” Rep. Hamilton wrote in an August 2 letter to Dr. Laurie Glimcher, president, and CEO of Dana-Farber. “They play a vital role here in Merrimack Valley by supporting patients through the hardship of a cancer diagnosis and bolstering our fight against this disease.”
DFCI – Merrimack Valley 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. DFCI – MV nurses voted in June and July 2022 to form a union and join the MNA. The MNA also represents approximately 600 nurses at the DFCI campus in Boston under a separate contract.
Dana-Farber Financial Highlights
- DFCI made $110 million in profits (excess of revenue over expenses) during the fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2023, according to the Center for Health Information and Analysis. It made $87.5 million during the previous quarter.
- DFCI’s total operating revenue for the first six months of FY2023 was approximately $1.5 billion, an increase of $196.9 million, or 15.7 percent, over the same period in 2022.
- Dr. Laurie Glimcher, president and CEO of Dana-Farber, saw a 15.4% increase in pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. The institute’s IRS 990 form shows Glimcher made more than $2 million in total compensation during FY2021.
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.