Tenet Massachusetts hospital hires replacement nurses as possible strike looms

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., said it has hired replacement workers ahead of a planned strike, amid contract talks with the union representing its 800 registered nurses.

Saint Vincent nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, said they plan to strike March 8 over staffing and patient care. Nurses issued an official 10-day notice Feb. 23, after authorizing the strike Feb. 10.  

As of March 3, an agreement had not been reached. The hospital said it is focusing on strike preparation.

Saint Vincent, part of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, said it has paid $1.7 million for replacement nurses to provide care if there is a walkout. A final $3.7 million payment is due March 5, the hospital said.

Negotiations have been held for 18 months. The union said the latest contract offer from hospital management does not adequately address needed staffing improvements to ensure patient safety, and only addressed staffing on two units.

The hospital contends it has offered a generous wage package and increases in staffing guidelines, which are already superior to other state hospitals.

 

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