News & Events

Unsafe Patient Care Conditions Prompt Brigham and Women’s Hospital Nurses to Picket on International Workers’ Day as a Federal Mediator is Called in and Management Refuses to Negotiate a Fair Contract

Nurses will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, May 1 outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital to protest management’s refusal to agree to a fair contract to help stabilize the BWH nurse workforce and address safety concerns

BOSTON, Mass. – The registered nurses of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, May 1 as a federal mediator joins negotiations that have stretched since last summer. Nurses will advocate during the picket on International Workers’ Day for a fair contract that invests in nurses and better enables them to provide safe patient care.

Informational Picket Details

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 (International Workers’ Day/May Day)

Time: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Speaking portion at approximately 1:15 p.m.

Location: Outside BWH at 75 Francis St., Boston, MA

“We have been negotiating for eight months and hospital management has barely moved on the major issues nurses have identified as necessary for maintaining safe patient care,” said Kelly Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse and BWH MNA Chair. “Our informational picket will show the public how seriously concerned almost 4,000 Brigham nurses are about MGB failing to invest in our workforce and address unsafe staffing throughout the hospital.”

“While MGB spends billions on expanding its healthcare empire, Brigham nurses are left to deal with workplace violence and the constant stress and exhaustion of unsafe staffing,” said Jim McCarthy, a PACU nurse and BWH MNA Vice Chair. “The hospital is failing to prioritize the needs of nurses and our patients. We will fight for a fair contract on International Workers’ Day!”

Both sides have agreed to bring in a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. A mediator from this agency was part of BWH MNA negotiations in 2016, when nurses came within a day of holding a one-day strike. This picket is not a strike, however. Nurses can join when they are not working or on break and will advocate for safe patient care without disrupting hospital access.

Nurses are Fighting for:

  • Improved staffing and patient care. A fair wage increase will help address widespread understaffing, which is putting patients and nurses at risk. Nurses have made proposals on various issues to aid retention and thereby patient safety, such as OR scheduling, addressing short staffing and long ED wait times.
  • Health insurance choice. Brigham nurses are dissatisfied with MGB health insurance. Many nurses are forced to use the insurance and experience long wait times for appointments and imaging, as well as out-of-network costs. Nurses have delivered a petition signed by more than 3,000 nurses demanding the option to change insurance plans during annual enrollment.
  • A fair and market-competitive wage increase. BWH has historically been a leader in acute care hospital wages. Recently, other hospitals have offered similar if not higher wages, impacting BWH’s ability to recruit and retain nurses.
  • Workplace violence protection. Nurses are assaulted at high rates. BWH has communicated poorly about violence, creating an unsafe environment. Yet in negotiations management has refused to allow nurses to immediately flag abusive patients, which would enable staff to take precautions.

MGB’s Wealth:



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.