St. Vincent Nurses on Strike for Safer Patient Care to Fly from Worcester, MA to Dallas, TX and Deliver 16-Foot Petition Signed by 700+ Nurses to the Corporate HQ of Hospital Owner Tenet Healthcare
FYI: The livestream of the noon St. Vincent RN press conference in Dallas will be at 1 p.m. eastern time. So tune in on our MNA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/massnurses) at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7 if you would like to watch the live stream.
Guest Speaker: Also speaking at the event in Dallas will be Sara Nelson, head of the 50,000-member Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO and a nationally recognized labor activist who is credited with helping to end the 2018-19 shutdown of the government when she called for a general national strike.
A growing coalition of nurses, Tenet caregivers from other hospitals, and labor and healthcare activists are calling for a congressional investigation of Tenet and other providers for their misuse of more than $2.6 billion in pandemic funding to boost profits at the expense of patients and the communities they serve
WORCESTER, Mass. – Next week, a delegation of striking nurses from Tenet Healthcare-owned St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA will travel to the corporation’s headquarters in Dallas to make a direct appeal to the corporate executives to finally respond to the nurses’ call for safer staffing for safer patient care, and end what is now the longest nurse strike nationally in more than a decade.
RN Petition Delivery from Massachusetts to Dallas
When: Wednesday, July 7 at 12 noon.
Where: On the sidewalk outside Tenet Healthcare’s Corporate Headquarters, 14201 Dallas Parkway., Dallas, TX. The event will also be livestreamed on the Massachusetts Nurses Association Facebook page.
What: Nurses and supporters will hold a press conference and attempt to deliver a 16-foot-long petition signed by more than 700 striking nurses to Tenet CEO Ron Rittenmeyer. Click here to view the petition language (PDF).
“After months of fruitless efforts trying to convince St. Vincent Hospital’s administration to provide us with the resources we need to protect our patients and our community, we have decided to travel to Dallas, Texas and speak directly to the corporate executives who have the ultimate control over the safety and quality of care at our hospital,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, longtime nurse at St. Vincent Hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “Prior to and during the pandemic, our nurses, patients and community suffered greatly as a result of Tenet Healthcare’s failure to provide the staffing and resources we needed to keep our patients safe. Tenet failed to safely staff St. Vincent Hospital while exposing nurses and other caregivers to higher risk of COVID-19 due to lack of access to proper personal protective equipment as detailed in testimony (PDF) provided last week by one of our members to a state legislative committee. While Tenet pocketed more than $500 million in profits using pandemic relief money, our patients suffered preventable falls and bedsores, dangerous delays in receiving medications and other treatments.”
The nurses, members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, along with other caregivers from Tenet facilities in California, who are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, as well as healthcare and labor activists from across the country, will hold a press conference on July 7 at noon, which will mark the 122nd day nurses will be on strike against Tenet.
Nurses are bringing a giant, 16-foot-long petition signed by more than 700 striking nurses and will attempt to deliver the petition to Tenet’s CEO Ron Rittenmeyer. They will also call out Tenet for its blatant misuse of more than $2.6 billion in taxpayer-supported pandemic funding from the CARES Act stimulus package – funding that was supposed to be used by hospitals to provide PPE, staffing and other resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet in Tenet’s hands was used to fund corporate expansion, pay down debt, buy back stock for executes and, in the words of CEO Rittenmyer as reported in the Dallas Morning News in April of 2020, “to maximize our cash position.”
It is not only nurses who want to see Tenet investigated. On June 30, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives James P. McGovern (MA-02) and Lori Trahan (MA-03), sent a letter to Tenet Health Chief Executive Officer Ronald A. Rittenmeyer questioning the company's use of taxpayer funds, including federal CARES Act grants and loans, to enrich its executives and shareholders rather than meet the needs of its health care workers and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced in part by an ongoing nurses' strike in Massachusetts and other Tenet facilities across the nation. This call for accountability by Tenet is in addition to efforts by other public officials, specifically, Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) and Rosa Delauro (D-CT), who sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Director Xavier Becerra and Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter, seeking a federal investigation into whether Tenet and other major hospital operators have misused their stimulus grants and other COVID relief funds.
The nurses’ petition drive and decision to go to Dallas was launched last month, after Tenet took the extreme step of threatening to permanently replace the nurses, a move that outraged the St. Vincent nurses, as well as other nursing organizations, social justice, and labor organizations across the nation. The nurses remain undaunted. The conclusion of their petition states what is really behind this strike and why so many support the nurses’ efforts:
“We are irreplaceable and are firmly resolved to maintain our strike until Tenet comes to the table and agrees to a contract that provides the necessary staffing improvements to ensure the safety of our patients. For nurses, this strike has nothing to do with profit and loss, for us, our patients are our friends and neighbors and any mistakes we make due to understaffing have names attached to them, with real life and death consequences. We will not let them down.” The full text of the petition can be found here.
The strike began on March 8, 2021, after Tenet had refused to negotiate with the nurses over improvements the nurses are seeking to improve unsafe patient care conditions in the hospital. The decision followed earnest and painstaking efforts over the last two years by the nurses to convince Tenet to improve the patient care conditions at the facility, poor conditions that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
For a more detailed review of the staffing crisis, efforts by nurses to convince Tenet to address the crisis, as well as proposals nurses are seeking to improve patient care, click here to view a previous press release on the matter.
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Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 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.