WORCESTER – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey along with Congressman James P. McGovern released the following joint statement on the contract negotiations between St. Vincent Hospital (St. Vincent’s), their parent company Tenet Healthcare, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the professional nurses at the hospital.
“Nurses work hard to take care of all of us when it matters the most, and St. Vincent’s should do the same for them by remaining at the table until a fair agreement for safe staffing standards is reached, so nurses have the help they need to do their job safely. A work stoppage in the middle of a pandemic would carry potentially catastrophic consequences for the City of Worcester and the entire region. We urge both parties to get back to the bargaining table to avoid a strike.”
Last week, the lawmakers sent a letter to Tenet Healthcare CEO & Chair Ronald Rittenmeyer expressing concerns regarding the contract negotiations.
Tenet Healthcare also owns MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, but their nurses are not unionized.
“We are writing to express our concerns regarding contract negotiations between St. Vincent Hospital (St. Vincent’s), their parent company Tenet Healthcare (Tenet), and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), which represents the professional nurses at the hospital. As you
know, the existing contract expired on February 11, 2021. Our understanding is that contract negotiations have stalled and MNA members at St. Vincent’s have authorized a work stoppage by a large margin and have triggered the 10-day notification period required by federal law. We are hopeful that negotiations can continue to avoid a work stoppage during this critical time for our communities in Worcester, the Central Massachusetts region, and across the Commonwealth,” wrote the trio of lawmakers.
Massachusetts, along with the rest of the nation, is focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. As of February 25, there are more than 32,000 active COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth and 15,657 people have tragically died in Massachusetts as a result of the virus.1
There have been over 64,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Worcester County, where St. Vincent’s is a vital acute care hospital. While St. Vincent’s always plays a critical role in Central Massachusetts, the hospital’s contribution to the community is even more significant due
to the pandemic — and our nurses are an important part of that responsibility. A work stoppage at St. Vincent’s at this time will carry potentially catastrophic consequences for the City of Worcester and the entire region,” wrote the two U.S. Senators and Congressman.
“Given that contract negotiations have not yet resulted in an agreement, we are deeply concerned that a work stoppage may occur. These are not normal circumstances and we must maintain the best interests of the community that will be greatly affected should negotiations falter. Moreover, the professional nurses at St. Vincent’s and their families are not only an integral part of this community, they have also felt some of the pandemic’s heaviest impact each and every day, working to save patients and protect themselves,” wrote the three lawmakers.
We respectfully request that St. Vincent’s and Tenet continue negotiations and remain at the bargaining table until St. Vincent Hospital and the MNA reach a deal,” concluded the three elected leaders.