The following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Press releases are submitted by government entities and organizations often to the digital news media outlet. SOURCE publishes them as a community service. Press releases are typically published as received. A press release is not independent reporting by journalists.
MILFORD – Registered nurses at Milford Regional Medical Center (MRMC) will hold a safe, socially distanced public event on Wednesday, Feb. 3 to mark the beginning of their National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote to join Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) as they forward to working together to improve conditions for nurses, patients, and their community.
MRMC nurses will gather in solidarity as they begin to cast ballots in a mail based NRLB election to join the MNA. All social distancing and masking guidelines will be followed.
Due to the pandemic, the NLRB is holding a mail-in election for the MRMC nurses.
Approximately 525 nurses began receiving ballots by mail after they were sent out by the NLRB on January 29.
They must be returned by February 19 and will be counted by the NLRB via zoom on Monday, February 22.
“As an employee of Milford Regional Medical Center for almost 20 years, I have seen many changes in how hospital management treats nursing,” said Cathy Bourbeau, MRMC nurse on MP1. “Over the past 10 years our benefits have been greatly eroded, demoralizing nurses and making it harder to safely staff our hospital. There was a time when nurses knew they were valued and respected by the hospital administration, which benefited our patients and the community we serve. I believe that by joining together as a union, our nurses who have played such a compassionate role in caring for patients and families, will regain our lost value and make our voices heard.”
“We have lived through an unprecedented time, and all Milford nurses have done our best under extraordinary circumstances,” said Yvette Remillard, RN, BSN Consigli Unit. “But we have also borne the brunt of the pandemic in so many ways. Rather than being treated as valuable partners, it seems Milford executives consider us a commodity and an afterthought. Our voices being heard through our union is critical to ensuring patients can get the quality care they deserve, and nurses are supported in providing that care.”
Long-standing problems at MRMC that have negatively impacted nurses and their ability to provide safe high-quality care prompted them to seek to join the MNA in December. Those safety issues were not addressed by hospital executives and were in fact made worse by the hospital’s disorganized and unsupportive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dozens of nurses have been exposed to COVID-19, nurses have been forced into unsafe, mandatory overtime and hospital executives have responded to nurses’ efforts to unionize by bringing in highly paid consultants to spread misinformation and attempt to scare nurses into voting against their own interests.
There has been an ongoing rise in the number of nurses and other staff who have been exposed to the virus, with 200 staff overall having tested positive with COVID-19 as of February 2, which is not surprising given the administration’s failure to provide the appropriate personal protective equipment and safe staffing practices. The cumulative staff positive cases increased 46% in the past six weeks, up from 137 on December 23. As of the morning of February, there were 18 positive inpatients at MRMC.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.