News & Events

Resolution in Support of Striking St. Vincent Hospital Nurses and Other Essential Staff to Go Before the Worcester City Council at Meeting Today, March 16th

03.16.2021


Resolution Calls on Tenet to Get Back to the Table to Negotiate a Settlement to Ensure Safe Patient Care

City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson (author of resolution) to hold press availability with the nurses and other staff on the strike line outside the hospital at 5 p.m.

City Council meeting held remotely on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m.

WORCESTER, Mass. – As the 800 striking nurses of St. Vincent Hospital move into their second week of an open-ended strike, the Worcester City Council this week is taking up a resolution in support of the nurses and other dedicated staff, which calls on Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare to get back to the negotiating table to “ensure the safety of registered nurses, healthcare staff, and patients” at the Worcester-based facility.

The resolution also addresses the need to support the members of UFCW 1445, which includes the patient care assistants, technicians, cleaning and other essential staff at the hospital, who are also conducting daily informational picketing outside the hospital to protest unsafe staffing and patient care conditions.

City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, who drafted the resolution, stated “The nurses and other essential staff of St. Vincent Hospital have always cared for this community with the utmost skill and compassion prior to and throughout the worst public health crisis in our history, sacrificing their own health and the health of their own families to keep us safe.  As they have taken the ultimate step to convince their employer to provide them with the staffing and resources they need to protect us, we owe them our support and this resolution is designed to voice that support from the city they have served so well for so long.”

Text of the Resolution:

WHEREAS: Access to safe healthcare is essential to Worcester residents, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,

WHEREAS: The nurses of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the nurses of Saint Vincent Hospital have served our community selflessly over the past year;

WHEREAS: More than 600 reports have been filed for “unsafe staffing” by nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital outlining how staffing levels may be dangerous to patients;

WHEREAS: The Massachusetts Nurses Association have been working to negotiate with Tenet Healthcare and Saint Vincent Hospital to ensure patient safety and fair compensation since late 2019; 

WHEREAS: The safety of patients, nursing staff, members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and all hospital staff, including members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, is paramount to public health; 

 NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

That the City Council of the City of Worcester express their support and gratitude to all healthcare staff and registered nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital and throughout the City of Worcester, and furthermore; That City Council of the City of Worcester does hereby encourage Tenet Healthcare, Saint Vincent Hospital to reengage in negotiations with the Massachusetts Nurses Association to reach an agreement that ensures the safety of registered nurses, healthcare staff, and patients along with fair compensation for their work.

“We truly appreciate the support of the Candy Carlson and the Worcester City Council,” 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). “We only hope that Tenet Healthcare finally gets the message that it is time to work with us to make the changes that are needed to keep our patients safe.”

The nurses’ strike and their stand for safer patient care has galvanized similar support from a variety of public officials. labor and community advocates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Jim McGovern who have all visited the nurses strike line and sent their own letter to Tenet’s CEO in Dallas urging Tenet to negotiate with the nurses to address the nurses concerns over needed staffing improvements to ensure safe care.  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 on March 7. “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.”

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.

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.

FPO