Brigham and Women's nurses to picket Tuesday

Nurses from Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital representing the Massachusetts Nurses Association are expected to picket May 17 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., according to the Boston Business Journal.

Although some nurses will continue to work, the hospital expects hundreds to participate in the picket. Those participating are protesting contract negotiations including scheduling, benefits and on-site security at Brigham and Women's.

Currently, recently hired nurses have eight less sick and vacation days than nurses with longer tenures with the system, according to the Boston Herald. In addition, they must enroll in a non-union health insurance plan. Nurses from the Massachusetts Nurses Association are also vying for 24-hour security presence in the emergency room, which they claim used to be a staple of Brigham and Women's.

Erin McDonough, a Brigham and Women's spokeswoman, commented on the nurses' concerns. She said newly hired nurses receive 33 annual vacation and sick days per year, and the amount increases to 47 over time. In a statement, Ms. McDonough added, "In order to continue to support the costly insurance and benefit package we provide to current Brigham nurses, we have proposed that newly hired nurses be enrolled in the same comprehensive health insurance program offered to BWH employees (non-nurses)." Ms. McDonough also claimed there have been "no changes to emergency department security," according to the Boston Herald.

The nurses met with hospital staff last week in an attempt to negotiate, but to no avail. The groups will meet again on May 20 to finalize a contract. This is their 18th attempt to do so since the previous contract expired last September. Trish Powers, Brigham and Women's Hospital's chairperson for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, said if the groups don't come to an agreement, a strike vote will be discussed, according to the Boston Herald.

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