Saint Vincent Hospital Responds to Recent MisstatementsSep 30, 2021
Union’s own website reveals truth about reinstatement rights
Worcester, MA – September 30, 2021 – Despite criticism from Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty, State Representatives David LeBoeuf and Mary Keefe, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Saint Vincent Hospital reaffirms its commitment to the permanent replacement nurses it has hired as the strike nears seven months.
Over the last few days, the hospital’s decision to hire permanent replacement nurses and stand by them has been questioned and called everything from retaliation to union busting to illegal. However, this decision is none of those things.
In fact, the MNA’s own website has a page on strikes, https://www.massnurses.org/labor-action/labor-education-resources/negotiations/strikes, that confirms Saint Vincent’s position regarding reinstatement rights when permanent replacement workers have been hired.
“If [striking workers] were involved in an Economic strike…your employer can replace you with temporary or more importantly, permanent replacements,” the site reads. “If your employer has hired permanent replacements who fill your job(s), when you or your union representative applies unconditionally for reinstatement, you are not entitled to go back to work.”
Because the MNA specifically called the current strike over staffing, which is considered to be an economic issue, it meets the MNA’s own definition of an economic strike. The strike has not been deemed an unfair labor practice strike, and therefore is an economic strike by default.
The hospital continues to stand by its decision to guarantee a job for every striking nurse who wants one, even though the hospital is not legally obligated to do so, and continues to welcome an opportunity to discuss any creative alternative with the union that does not involve forcibly removing permanent replacement nurses.
In fact, Saint Vincent Hospital’s attorney has informed the MNA’s attorney of this via phone and in writing on multiple occasions since August 20. Those communications included a guarantee of a position for every striking nurse who wants to return as well as super seniority rights and enhanced severance options for those whose pre-strike positions have been replaced. The MNA has not responded or demonstrated any flexibility whatsoever.
It is critical that our return to work agreement includes all nurses currently working at SVH as well as those on strike who wish to return given the nursing shortage across Massachusetts and the country.