In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media.
This third alternative maintains generous wage increases, health insurance premium improvements for some nurses, and security enhancements.
The different aspect of this option is enhanced resource nurse staffing. It provides for resource nurses, regardless of patient census, on day and evening shift for all med/surg units, as well as incremental resource nurses in other areas of the hospital. It also includes limits on how many patients these resource nurses can take, so they will be available to help other nurses or to assist with unique circumstances that arise.
This option was informed by other contracts the MNA has been settling across Massachusetts at hospitals with baseline staffing below that of Saint Vincent Hospital.
“We want our nurses to know we have thoughtfully looked at what other MNA bargaining units are agreeing to across Massachusetts and compared their baseline staffing to ours,” said CEO Carolyn Jackson. “These other bargaining units are prioritizing additional resource nurses, and they are coming to agreement with their hospitals without a workforce disruption. We compared our baseline staffing to these hospitals and found that we compare favorably with them. This third option is more generous than what other hospitals are settling for.”
Saint Vincent Hospital has made multiple, escalating offers with significant concessions in past negotiation sessions, only to have each rejected by the MNA bargaining committee without a meaningful counterproposal. Those initial escalating offers culminated in the first option that was presented on April 26. That option focused on improving staffing ratios in certain areas and added a staffing audit committee with expedited arbitration language. The MNA rejected this option.
A second option was presented during the last discussion between Saint Vincent Hospital and the MNA, which took place on May 5. It focused on the MNA’s public praising of staffing at UMass and request that Saint Vincent Hospital staff like UMass. It included staffing, flexing and floating language identical to the UMass contract that the MNA has praised, and it even added five more staffing concessions. The MNA rejected this option too without a meaningful counterproposal.
By proactively giving the MNA this third option, Saint Vincent Hospital continues to show that it is serious about reaching an agreement and bringing the strike to a close. This proposal includes more generous resource nurse language than what other MNA bargaining units at hospitals similar to Saint Vincent are settling for around the state. Interestingly, those hospitals have baseline contracts that are not as generous as the current Saint Vincent contract. Given that these staffing concessions have been successful in settling other recent contract negotiations in Massachusetts, we are hopeful that the MNA will place the interests of its members and the community above its own agenda, and put this new proposal to a vote by its members this week.
Saint Vincent Hospital is an acute care hospital providing general and tertiary medical services to residents of Worcester and Central Massachusetts. The hospital is owned by Tenet Health, which also owns MetroWest Medical Center.