WORCESTER, Mass., Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The 800 registered nurses at St. Vincent Hospital will receive a boost on Thursday afternoon as Massachusetts’ junior senator Edward Markey plans to join the nurses on their daily picket line outside the hospital as part of their effort to convince Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare to increase staffing levels at the hospital to better protect their patients during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and beyond.  Markey’s visit will occur just eight days after the nurses cast an overwhelming vote authorizing their committee to call for a strike should Tenet management continue to refuse to work with the nurses to address a growing patient safety crisis. 

“We are thrilled that Senator Markey is taking the time to join us on Thursday as we continue our daily effort to educate the public to help us convince our employer to finally put a concern for our patients and community over Tent’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).

About the Markey Visit
When: Thursday, Feb. 18 from 3:30- 4:30 p.m.
Where: Outside the Summer Street entrance to St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester
Daily Picketing: Since January 9, nurses have been conducting daily picketing for an hour each day in all types of weather to inform the public of their concern for patient safety under current conditions. 

The vote to authorize a strike was scheduled after Tenet issued what it called its “last, best and final” offer at negotiations on Jan. 28, an offer which once again, failed to include any proposal to address the hospital’s longstanding staffing/patient safety crisis.  The nurses were further outraged the day after the vote when the parties held contract negotiations on Feb. 11, where the nurses put forth a reasonable adjustment to their staffing proposal to help reach a settlement.  Unfortunately, Tenet once again refused to engage in any discussion of improvements to patient care conditions, while the nurses 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.  Adding insult to injury, that same day, Tenet announced annual profits of more than $400 million.

The nurses continue to hope that with ongoing public pressure, Tenet will come back to the table to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement to avert the need for a strike.  In the meantime, the nurses are actively engaged in educating their members about how to prepare for a strike and logistical planning for a work stoppage, including plans to secure and open a strike headquarters near the hospital.  If the nurses decide to strike, they are required to provide the hospital with at least 10 days’ notice ahead of the action. 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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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association

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