Setting the Record Straight During 12th Week of Strike

May 27, 2021

Saint Vincent Hospital addresses false claims made by the MNA

Worcester, MA – Saint Vincent Hospital maintains its commitment to provide transparency to the community and to the Hospital’s nurses into the negotiations with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) as the strike continues. This all comes on the heels of confusing and contradictory statements made recently by MNA leadership that were incongruent to their prior positions.

The statements in question are as follows:

  • The MNA claims Saint Vincent Hospital’s offer does not adequately address staffing. The last offer from Saint Vincent included staffing language identical to the UMass Memorial Medical Center collective bargaining agreement, as well as five additional concessions on staffing. The union rejected these proposals despite publically praising UMass staffing over a dozen times. The MNA also rejected a different proposal that included an independent quarterly audit committee to verify staffing as well as expedited arbitration language.
  • The MNA falsely states that all med/surg units at UMass are staffed at a 4:1 ratio. This is not true according to multiple conversations with UMass leadership. UMass leadership shared with Saint Vincent Hospital directly that they don’t always staff 4:1 and have 4:1-5:1 ratio language in their contract.
  • The MNA claims the strike is all about 4:1 staffing. The MNA’s last response continued to include and add unreasonable requests including: 1) Creation of a new top step and further increases in wages to the highest paid nurses only; 2) Request for a pension plan; 3) Request for significantly more staff in the ER without any additional patients.
  • The MNA overstates the number of nurses who are on the picket line. The strike line, on average, consists of 25-30 people at any given time, which is five to six times less than those who have crossed the picket line to return to work and care for their patients.
  • The MNA suggests that Saint Vincent Hospital hasn’t negotiated fairly. Saint Vincent Hospital put forward four proposals in the last three months, each with significant staffing concessions. These proposals were presented on March 1 (prior to the strike), April 26, May 1 and May 5, 2021. Saint Vincent Hospital has never walked away from any reasonable discussion, and Saint Vincent is the only party in this negotiation process to put forward proposals with meaningful compromises.
  • The MNA claims they want to resolve the strike. While Saint Vincent made successive concessions, including maintaining the generous prospective wage and benefits proposals for the nurses, the MNA was quick to reject these proposals. The MNA’s counterproposal on May 5 made little movement, and they ignored the hospital’s request to put the hospital’s latest proposal to its members for a vote.

“We would like to bring the strike to a close, but we, along with the rest of the Central Massachusetts community, see that the MNA continues to provide false information and that it is merely prolonging the strike,” said Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson. “These tactics might make nurses wonder whether the MNA bargaining unit is truly negotiating in good faith.”

The hospital would welcome an opportunity to continue discussions should the MNA come back to the table with a reasonable proposal. In the meantime, the hospital looks forward to welcoming its new team members, and welcoming back more nurses who have shared their intention to cross the picket line in the coming weeks.

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