News & Events

Cambridge City Council Unanimously Supports Cambridge Health Alliance Nurses and Healthcare Professionals as they Prepare to March on Cambridge Hospital on May 8 for a Fair Contract that Protects Safe Patient Care and Respects Caregivers

05.04.2021

Cambridge Health Alliance is refusing to agree to patient safety improvements, is cutting sick time benefits and is treating Everett healthcare professionals unfairly

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Cambridge Health Alliance nurses and healthcare professionals, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will march to Cambridge Hospital on Saturday, May 8 as they continue to call attention to CHA executives dragging out lengthy and unfair contract negotiations that ignore much-needed improvements to staffing, pay, and benefits.

The march comes the same week the Cambridge City Council voted 9-0 to “go on record standing in solidarity with the MNA nurses campaigning for fair contract negotiations with Cambridge Health Alliance.”

CHA March Details

Attendees will don masks and maintain responsible social distances. Speakers at the beginning and end of the march will include nurses, healthcare professionals, elected officials, and community supporters.

Date: Saturday, May 8, 2021

Time: Begins at 11 a.m.

Starting Location: Flagstaff Park, near Harvard Square

Ending Location: Outside Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA

The march follows three informational pickets on April 27 in Cambridge, Everett and Somerville that drew dozens of nurses, community members and elected officials. The Cambridge City Council’s unanimous resolution reads, in part:

“That the City Council urges the CHA administration to begin contract negotiations with the MNA nurses as soon as possible, and bargain with them in good faith to meet their demands, which they have more than earned saving lives and administering treatment at the front line of this pandemic…”

Suzy Dailey, RN, and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Cambridge Hospital said,

“We were called heroes by CHA management during the pandemic but now we are forced to fight to be respected and valued as nurses and healthcare professionals. We are advocating for reasonable staffing improvements to ensure safe, high-quality care and are seeking a fair contract that will benefit patients and our community.”

“Despite our critical contributions to our patients and community during the pandemic and beyond, CHA management refuses to treat Everett Hospital healthcare professionals equally,” said Sharen Froilan RN, and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Everett Hospital. “Reaching a fair contract with CHA will mean Everett Hospital nurses and healthcare professionals receive the support we need and deserve as we care for our community.”

“We put a hold on negotiations during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide life-saving care, and yet CHA management refuses to agree to retroactive pay raises that our nurses and healthcare professionals deserve,” said Lisa Valley Shah RN and Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee at Somerville Hospital. “Many of us are exhausted and traumatized from the past year and nurses are leaving CHA as a result. CHA must get back to the bargaining table and agree to a fair contract that demonstrates real commitment to supporting nurses and healthcare professionals.”

Contraction Negotiations Background

Negotiations began in January 2019 over three separate MNA contracts for Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville. Currently, there are approximately 500 MNA nurses and healthcare professionals at Cambridge, 200 at Everett and 60 at Somerville.

The parties had to cease negotiations for about six months at the height of pandemic so nurses could focus on saving lives. Despite the prolonged negotiations and suspension for a pandemic, CHA refuses to provide any retroactive pay increases for the excellent care provided during the worse pandemic in a century.

CHA also refuses to negotiate over the proper role and safe assignments for charge nurses. Charge nurses should have no patient assignment or a limited patient assignment to ensure they can coordinate the overall needs of patients, nurses, and the flow on each individual floor/unit. A charge nurse should also be available to assist less experienced nurses with more complex cases, while also picking up patient assignments when staff become overburdened.

CHA wants to move from a tradition time off accrual system with sick, vacation and personal days to earned time and change the rate of accruing such ET. The MNA will agree to move to an ET system but those RNs with 5-9 years and 15-19 years of service cannot be forced to give up 58 hours of accrued time each year as part of the transition.

CHA refuses to treat healthcare professionals (HCPs) as full members of the MNA bargaining unit. Instead, it wants to keep the HCPs in a different system than the one offered to the RNs and refuses to grant the HCPs many of the scheduling and shift differentials.

In May 2020, when negotiations were suspended due to the pandemic, CHA nurses and healthcare professionals delivered a petition to senior management and held a public event urging CHA to better support them with personal protective equipment and other safety and support policies.

 

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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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