Saint Vincent Hospital Focuses on Continued Care for Community After MNA Rejects Offer

Mar 3, 2021

Qualified replacement nurses secured as MNA moves toward Monday strike

Worcester, MA – Saint Vincent Hospital is turning its attention to ensuring quality care during a pending strike by nurses after the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) did not accept the hospital’s latest offer.

A session between the Hospital and MNA ended today with the MNA rejecting the offer made by the hospital Monday night, which included the most generous wage package in more than 10 years, with total raises of up to 36 percent for some nurses, as well as increases in staffing guidelines, which are already considered among the best of all Massachusetts hospitals. The MNA had previously served notice that it would go on strike Monday, March 8.

“We are very disappointed at the MNA’s unwillingness to reach agreement. The proposal they presented us today signaled that they are not willing to take this negotiation seriously,” said Carolyn Jackson, Saint Vincent CEO.

“The union has not presented any offer that is materially different from our sessions on Jan. 5 or Feb. 11. We’ve made successive increasing offers, but the MNA has made no changes whatsoever in its overreaching staffing proposal. They are willing to jeopardize their members and our community over invalid complaints about quality and safety.”

“We will now turn our full attention to finalizing our plans for a strike to ensure continued operations that provide safe, high quality care to our patients, using replacement registered nurses,” Jackson said.

The hospital has already made the first payment of $1.7 million for the replacement nurses. A final payment of $3.7 million is due on Friday.

Jackson said the hospital wanted to avoid having to take that step, but the MNA has left them with no choice.

“Our plans are in place for Monday morning, and we will be appropriately staffed to continue to provide safe, high quality care,” she said.

Saint Vincent Hospital’s record of quality awards and recognitions demonstrates that it is already providing high quality of care to its patients, despite the MNA’s claims of insufficient staffing. In fact, the hospital’s staffing guidelines are among the best of all hospitals in Massachusetts. The MNA has been waging a years-long campaign for statewide staffing ratios, but there is no valid research that concludes that staffing ratios improve patient outcomes. Professional medical groups, including other nursing organizations, agree that healthcare decisions are best made by healthcare professionals and nurses at the bedside, not by a union contract. Rigid staffing ratios would dramatically increase emergency room wait times, decrease access to care and delay other lifesaving services.

Jackson continued, “We value our relationship with all of our employees. We want what is best for our nurses, not just a contract that allows the MNA to use Saint Vincent nurses as pawns to further the MNA’s staffing ratio agenda. Regardless, we have been here for 127 years to care for patients who desperately need us, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.”

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