Dana-Farber Merrimack Valley nurses issue strike notice

Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association plan to hold a 24-hour strike beginning Sept. 27 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute-Merrimack Valley in Methuen, Mass.

The union represents about 30 Merrimack Valley nurses, according to an MNA news release. It also represents about 600 nurses at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute main campus in Boston under a separate contract.

Union members voted to authorize a strike in August. The union and Merrimack Valley are in negotiations for a labor deal after nurses voted to unionize in June and July 2022. Dana-Farber, in a statement shared with Becker's, said it has been negotiating in good faith since December "to create the first collective bargaining agreement with our Merrimack Valley nurses. We welcomed the involvement of a federal mediator in July."

Union members contend that during bargaining, Dana-Farber has yet to reach reasonable compromises on issues such as a competitive wage step scale and a commitment to maintaining benefits throughout the life of the contract. "We would prefer that Dana-Farber executives simply meet the needs of our nurses so we can maintain a stable workforce, but instead they have put us in this position to fully exercise our rights as union members," Kerrin Albert, RN, said in an MNA news release

"We are disappointed that despite Dana-Farber offering a generous compensation and benefit package and remaining at the table, the Merrimack Valley nurses and nurse practitioners are planning a one-day strike," Dana-Farber said in its statement. "Now, as always, we remain committed to working toward a fair and equitable agreement and look forward to continuing negotiations."

Another negotiation session is scheduled for Sept. 19, days after Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announced plans Sept. 14 to construct a freestanding inpatient cancer hospital in Boston.

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