Tenet, Massachusetts nurses impasse update: 6 things to know

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Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Mass., entered the 13th week of their strike May 31, as the labor dispute between the union representing about 800 nurses at the facility and the hospital's parent company, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, remains unresolved.

Six things to know:

1. Saint Vincent nurses have been on strike since March 8, with staffing being a major point of contention between the parties. 

2. The union has sought a 4-1 patient-to-nurse ratio on medical/surgical floors and telemetry units, in most cases, as well as resource nurses and other staff on various units. 

3. In a May 27 news release, Saint Vincent said it had made four proposals to the union, including one with staffing language identical to the UMass Memorial Medical Center contract and another that included an independent quarterly audit committee to verify staffing, as well as an expedited arbitration process.

4. The union and hospital have not negotiated since May 5, and Saint Vincent announced May 12 plans to fill about 50 nursing positions with its first job posting for hiring permanent replacement nurses.The posting included 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, citing a need to stabilize the workforce.

5. In a May 27 letter, a group of federal lawmakers denounced the move to permanently replace nurses at Saint Vincent. The letter is signed by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, as well as U.S. Reps. James McGovern and Lori Trahan, members of the Central Massachusetts State Legislative Delegation and members of the Worcester City Council.

6. Before this strike, the last one at Saint Vincent was 21 years ago, when about 600 nurses walked out, according to the Telegram & Gazette. That strike ended after 49 days. 

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