Saint Vincent Offers MNA New Proposal with Staffing Language that Mirrors UMassMay 3, 2021
MNA has publicly praised the UMass staffing language on at least a dozen occasionsWorcester, MA – May 1, 2021 – Saint Vincent Hospital came to the table today prepared to negotiate and end the strike with a very strong staffing proposal. This alternative offer contains UMass Memorial Medical Center’s (UMass) staffing language that the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) has publicly praised on at least a dozen occasions in the last 2 months. In the spirit of its willingness to negotiate, the hospital also left its last proposal on the table that includes an audit committee with expedited arbitration language. With this alternative proposal, the hospital has clearly given the MNA two very strong but very different options to choose from to work together to find a path forward.
Today’s proposal, which includes the UMass staffing language, also maintains the same prospective wage increases during the life of the new agreement as the offer presented on April 26. This includes a retroactive pay increase for full-time and part-time nurses of 2% effective January 1, 2021. Additionally, it includes enhanced wage increases for per diem nurses. The hospital has replaced the staffing language in this offer to match that of the UMass’s collective bargaining agreement. In doing so, the hospital removed previous language in its proposal around staffing, floating and flexing as well as staffing grids. This aligns with the staffing and flexing portions of the UMass contract that the MNA has continuously said they want at SVH. Today’s proposal does not include the staffing audit committee that was offered in the April 26 proposal, and the two should be considered as separate and distinct proposals.
The proposal given by the hospital on Monday, April 26 is still on the table as an alternative for the MNA to consider. It includes the addition of a staffing audit committee to address claims by the MNA that Saint Vincent Hospital doesn’t comply with the staffing guidelines. The creation of an audit committee, made up of representatives of both the hospital and the nurses, was added to ensure compliance with the staffing guidelines contained in the nurses’ contract. The audit committee would work with a mutually agreeable third party who would perform the audit. If the hospital is found to be out of compliance, an expedited arbitration process, with language taken directly from the MNA’s most recent proposal, would be followed. This offer also includes all prospective portions of previous economic offers, including generous wage increases during the life of the new agreement, and improved healthcare benefits for a large number of nurses. The retro portion of the offer changed to 2% effective January 1, 2021. In response to the hospital’s proposal, the union indicated that the earliest it could meet is Wednesday, May 5th. The hospital impressed upon the mediator the importance of reconvening before Wednesday and asked her to urge the MNA to meet Monday afternoon.
By giving the MNA two alternate proposals to consider, Saint Vincent Hospital has shown that it is serious about reaching an agreement while also reinforcing that it will not agree to across the board 4:1 staffing on medical surgical units. We remain hopeful that the MNA will place the interests of its members and our community above its own agenda, and will work with us to reach an agreement.