As Nurses Hold Candlelight Vigil Federal Mediator is Called in
UMMMC Has Profit of $31 Million but Claims the Need for Concessions
While UMass Memorial Medical Center has shown a profit of over $31 million in the first three quarters of fiscal 2009, the UMass University Hospital continues to press for health care concessions from the registered nurses who are members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining unit.
The nurses are holding a candlelight vigil to raise public awareness that negotiations have been going on for over ten months without a settlement. While there has been resolution to some of the issues, management is still seeking costly take-a-ways. “The hospital, which has been very profitable for the past few years, once again has been attempting to make us pay more for our health insurance. We insist that the hospital take this concession off the table,” said Kathlyn Logan, RN and Co-Chair of the bargaining unit of more than 900 Registered Nurses.
After the last negotiation session in mid October the nurses decided to invite the Federal mediator to join the process. “We have come to the point in the negotiations that the process has stalled. It is our hope that the mediator will be able to facilitate some real give and take and move the talks to an equitable resolution,” said Margaret McLoughlin, RN and Co-Chair of the Umass University unit.
Since negotiations began management has been pushing for a three year contract but they will not agree to offer an across the board cost of living wage increase in the third year. “While the records show that the hospital is making millions in profits, they continue to complain that they are having financial difficulty. They point to the bad economy as a means to scare nurses into accepting concessions and minimal wage increases. We are holding this candlelight vigil to alert the community to this issue and to send a message to the Hospital that we will stay at the table for as long as it takes to reach a fair agreement.” said Logan.