Brigham and Women's Hospital nurses set date for strike

The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents 3,300 nurses at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, voted Monday to authorize a one-day strike, The Boston Globe reports.

The vote follows months of contentious contract negotiations between the union and Brigham, which is part of Boston-based Partners HealthCare. Ninety-five percent of the 2,460 nurses who cast ballots voted in favor of the strike authorization, the union said in a statement. Sticking points of negotiations include wage increases, time off and health benefits.

A walkout is set to begin at 7 a.m. June 27 and will include nurses at the main hospital campus in the Longwood area of Boston, along with Brigham facilities in Foxborough, Newton, Jamaica Plain and Chestnut Hill. However, the nurses have agreed to return to the negotiating table with the hospital June 17 in a last-ditch effort to avert the planned strike, the Boston Business Journal reports.

Hospital officials have said they are preparing for a potential strike by contracting with a staffing agency to hire 700 temporary nurses, who would work alongside about 130 nonunion Brigham nurses, according to The Boston Globe. Although nurses authorized a one-day strike, Brigham has said it will lock out the nurses for five days "for continuity of patient care and for economic reasons," the report states.

Still, the hospital is hopeful for a resolution.

"We sincerely hope that we can reach a fair and reasonable contract and avoid a strike," Ron M. Walls, MD, Brigham's COO, said in a statement Monday, according to The Boston Globe. "Our focus, however, remains on providing safe, high-quality care to our patients, and we will be ready to do so should a strike occur."


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