Tenet Massachusetts hospital posts an additional 49 permanent replacement nurse positions

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., has posted another 49 permanent replacement nurse positions during a strike by union-represented nurses in its 11th week, according to a May 18 hospital statement. 

The hospital, part of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, said it is hiring additional permanent replacement nurses to support 140 nurses who have returned to work during the strike and enhance care continuity.

Saint Vincent announced May 12 plans to fill about 50 nursing positions with its first job posting, including day-shift positions scheduled for 32 hours or more weekly in critical care and all but one inpatient med-surg unit. As of May 18, the hospital had posted 102 available permanent replacement nursing positions. 

The new postings include emergency department, post-anesthesia care unit, same day medical and same day surgery positions with at least 32 hours weekly as well as roles in some smaller departments with full-time and weekday shifts available, said Saint Vincent.  

The hospital has started screening applicants, and it expects to begin making offers May 19. 

"We are grateful for the number of nurses who are applying for positions that meet their ideal schedules and are looking to continue or begin their career with us at Saint Vincent Hospital," CEO Carolyn Jackson said in a news release. "While we hope for a resolution with the [Massachusetts Nurses Association] bargaining committee, we are taking necessary actions to ensure our hospital remains safe and operational."

The permanent replacement nursing positions come more than two months after members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association went on strike beginning March 8.

The union, which represents about 800 Saint Vincent nurses, returned to the bargaining table with the hospital earlier this month. However, both sides remain at an impasse on staffing. 

After the hospital's initial announcement last week that it was hiring permanent replacement nurses, the union said nurses remain unmoved and spoke out against the decision.

"The nurses remain unmoved by Tenet's unseemly threat, having fully expected Tenet to move in this direction, and see it as yet another desperate attempt to avoid negotiating in good faith with the nurses, while once again demonstrating the for-profit corporation's complete lack of respect for the nurses and the valuable role they have in protecting the community," the Massachusetts Nurses Association said in a May 14 statement.

The union also said nurses will continue efforts to reach an agreement to end a strike that is focused on improving staffing levels and working conditions.

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