News & Events

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Jim McGovern & Former Congressman Joe Kennedy III to Visit St. Vincent Nurses Strike Line on Friday, March 12th

03.11.2021

WORCESTER, Mass. – The 800 striking nurses of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester will receive a boost on Friday, March 12 as they will be joined by Massachusetts Senior Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Jim McGovern on their strike line outside the hospital at 3 p.m., which will help mark their fifth day of an open-ended strike for safer patient care against Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. 

Former Congressman Joe Kennedy III, whose uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, helped settled the St. Vincent nurses’ historic 49-day strike in 2000, will also be paying the nurses a visit earlier in the day at 11 a.m.

Senator Warren, along with Senator Markey and Congressman McGovern have shown strong interest in the patient safety crisis at St. Vincent Hospital for the last several weeks, having sent one letter to Tenet’s CEO in Dallas urging them to negotiate with the nurses to address the nurses concerns over needed staffing improvements to ensure safe care, and as the strike began, they issued a statement in support of the nurses. 

“We urge Tenet to listen to and act on the concerns of St. Vincent nurses,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement Sunday. “This is a patient safety issue, but it’s also about our values. We respect our nurses, we deeply appreciate everything they have done for our community during this challenging year, and we stand unequivocally with them in their fight for patient safety and fairness. We remain ready and willing to help in any way we can to resolve this situation in a fair and equitable way.”

In announcing his visit former Congressman Kennedy stated, “I’m proud to stand with St. Vincent’s nurses. It’s hard to imagine where we would be right now without the heroism of these men and women who show up every single day to save lives, pandemic or not. They are brave, dedicated, and selfless. The least they deserve is the safe conditions to do their job. Nearly 25 years ago my uncle was proud to fight with the nurses of St. Vincent’s for basic economic justice. I am proud to fight with them today.”

Former Congressman Joe Kennedy Visits the Strike Line

When: Friday, March 12 at 11 a.m.

Where: Outside the Summer Street Entrance to St. Vincent Hospital


Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Jim McGovern Visit the Strike Line

When: Friday, March 12 at 3 p.m.

Where: Outside the Summer Street Entrance to St. Vincent Hospital
 

“We are thrilled that Senator Warren and Congressman McGovern are taking the time to join us on Friday as we continue our strike to convince our employer to finally put a concern for our patients and community over Tenet’s concern for profits,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, a frontline nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA). “Our nurses are putting everything on the line to ensure the safety of our patients and our community, and it means so much to receive the support from these great leaders, and so many others who are showing up to champion our cause.”

Pellegrino, who was one of the nurses on strike in 2000 who flew down to Senator Kennedy’s office in Washington, D.C., where the final negotiation for a settlement to that strike was reached, commented on the significance of Joe Kennedy’s visit to the line.  “The former congressman has always been supportive of nursing and patient safety and it brings it full circle to have him stand with us, like his uncle did 20 years ago, for the safety of patients in Worcester.”    

The 800 SVH nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted overwhelmingly on Feb. 10 to authorize the strike, and last week issued the required notice to conduct an open-ended strike beginning at 6 a.m. on March 8.  The decision to strike followed a concerted effort 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. Adding insult to injury, the same day nurses voted to authorize the strike, Tenet announced annual profits of more than $400 million.

In the last year alone, nurses have filed more than 600 official “unsafe staffing” reports (more than 110 such reports have been filed since Jan. 1, 2021) in which nurses informed management in real time that patient care conditions jeopardized the safety of their patients.  The nurses also report their patients in Worcester are experiencing an increase in patient falls, an increase in patients suffering from preventable bed sores, potentially dangerous delays in patients receiving needed medications and other treatments – all due to lack of appropriate staffing, excessive patient assignments, and cuts to valuable support staff. 

While Tenet has refused to ensure safe care to patients in Worcester, adding insult to injury, that same day Tenet announced annual profits of more than $400 million.

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.

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