Massachusetts Nurses Association Labor Strike Tenet Healthcare Proposal from St. Vincent Hospital


WORCESTER – Nurses and striking officers at St. Vincent Hospital are due to return to the bargaining table Wednesday morning, after the hospital presented a new staffing proposal on Saturday.

“The hospital’s offer was very complex, and the nurses have come together and will be meeting all day today to develop a comprehensive proposal to be presented on Wednesday that will provide what we need to end the strike,” David Schildmeier, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Nurses Union Nurses Association said in an email Monday.

“We look forward to negotiating as long as it takes to reach a settlement.”

Carolyn Jackson, CEO of St. Vincent Hospital, also praised the bargaining session.

“I hope they will accept the proposal completely or with minor changes when they return,” Jackson said in an interview on Monday. “We look forward to their response.”

Monday marked the 57th day of the strike – the longest strike by nurses in Massachusetts in two decades, according to the union – as hospital and nurses remained at odds over staffing.

The nurses mainly recommend a ratio of 1 to 4 nurses in relation to the patients of the medical-surgical floors and of the telemetry units, in most cases, with a resource nurse to intervene; increased staffing in the emergency department; and auxiliary support in each unit.

Nurses said the current ratio of primarily 1 in 5 between nurses and patients is not safe.

Tenet Healthcare, the Dallas-based company that owns and operates St. Vincent Hospital, originally offered a 1: 4 ratio on three of the eight medical / surgical floors. He also came up with a 1 to 2 ratio in the progressive care unit and another ICU floating nurse to deal with the extra loads of patients.

Since the strike began, the hospital has presented two additional proposals to address the issue of staffing in discussions with the nurses’ union.

On April 26, the hospital proposed the creation of an audit committee to ensure staffing guidelines. the The nurses’ union said nurses were “insulted.. ”

The sides sat down to talk again on Saturday, where the hospital presented a new, second proposal.

According to the hospital, this includes the UMass Memorial endowment language; maintains the same potential salary increases as the April 26 offer – including a retroactive 2% salary increase for full-time and part-time nurses; and increased salary increases for per diem nurses.

On Monday, Jackson called it a “fair and generous offer” and “very different” from previous offers made by the hospital.

She said she hoped nurses would make concessions on what she described as “an overall 4-to-1 ratio on medico-surgical floors” and a demand for a new pension plan.

The nurses’ union declined to discuss details of the proposal, but on Saturday said it “opens the door to substantive discussion.”

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