The following is a press release from Tenet Healthcare.
WORCESTER – Saint Vincent Hospital presented its last, best, and final offer to the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) today, August 5.
This comes after months of the hospital providing escalating proposals to address nurse staffing, the central issue vocalized by the union. Saint Vincent Hospital’s final proposal is presented as the protracted strike has reached 150 days and has resulted in the hospital reducing services to protect critical services and jobs for the community.
Tenet Healthcare operates Saint Vincent Hospital, along with MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham & Natick. Nurses are only striking at St. Vincent.
Saint Vincent Hospital has continued to provide data that confirms its quality of nurse staffing and patient care. This was validated last week by a nationally respected third party, U.S. News & World Report, which rated the hospital as a “Best Regional Hospital.”
Saint Vincent Hospital conducted a thorough review of its staffing and found that its nurse to patient staffing ratios that are in the top 75th percentile of peer hospitals in Massachusetts. This supports the U.S. News & World Report’s assessment on the high quality nurse staffing at the hospital.
After a careful review of patient acuity and feedback from nurses on the patient floors, the hospital chose to make additional investments to increase service levels available to Central Massachusetts. These staffing investments will place Saint Vincent’s nurse staffing in the 90th percentile in the state and are reflected in the following staffing improvements in the final proposal:
- Increase of resource nurses, whose primary responsibility is to provide additional support to bedside nurses, from 11 units to 20 units in the hospital
- Increase in nurse staffing in multiple units where patient acuity has increased since the last time the staffing guidelines were updated in the contract
- Increase in nurse staffing at the higher patient census points on multiple units, ensuring that there is adequate nurse staffing even when the hospital is very busy and full
Additionally, the last, best, and final offer maintains a generous and competitive compensation package as well as several workplace safety improvements:
- Increase in wages of 8% to 35% between now and the end of the contract in 2024, enabling nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital to receive competitive wages for their respective tenures
- Addition of a 3% lump sum bonus on hours worked in 2021 in recognition of nurses who are returning to the hospital to care for their patients
- Addition of a special lump sum bonus for the most senior nurses to recognize their years of commitment to Saint Vincent and their patients
- Increase in benefits cost share by Saint Vincent Hospital for all nurses working 24 hours or more hours per week, reducing their out-of-pocket healthcare benefits expenses
- Addition of key workplace safety measures agreed upon with the MNA, the majority of which have already been implemented
Saint Vincent Hospital’s last, best, and final offer reflects the hospital’s commitment to Central Massachusetts by enhancing healthcare service levels, offering competitive compensation to recruit and retain nurses, and listening to the feedback on workplace safety shared by its nurses. This is consistent with the company’s thoughtful and respectful approach to working with labor unions and their employees. Tenet affiliated hospitals have successfully reached agreement on over 25 union contracts since 2020, including two in Massachusetts during the extended nursing strike.
The last, best, and final offer represents the full extent to which the hospital will go in the negotiations. It comes after the union refused to counter the hospital’s previous proposal and cancelled the scheduled session on Tuesday, August 3, before the parties even had a chance to meet. Despite that, the hospital chose to increase the lump sum bonus on hours worked in 2021 in recognition of the nurses as noted above. The final proposal also comes as the nursing strike and nursing shortage has forced the hospital to scale back services, as COVID cases are rising, and as winter is approaching; all of which will place more demand on a busy hospital.
“Our last, best and final offer remains generous across wages and benefits, and includes extensive investments in nurse staffing, building upon the hospital’s “very high” nurse staffing rating by U.S. News & World Report,” said Carolyn Jackson, Saint Vincent Hospital CEO. “Over 200 nurses have crossed the picket line to care for patients, and we continue to welcome additional nurses each day. It is time for the MNA bargaining committee to accept this offer or put it to a vote overseen by the federal mediator.”
Saint Vincent Hospital is an acute care hospital providing general and tertiary medical services to residents of Worcester and Central Massachusetts. From newborns to seniors, Saint Vincent Hospital has a wide-range of inpatient and outpatient services, including open-heart surgery, neurosurgery, cardiovascular medicine, orthopedics and the Saint Vincent Cancer and Wellness Center. Saint Vincent Hospital was founded by the Sisters of Providence and has over a century-long tradition of providing quality healthcare. It was the first hospital in Central Massachusetts to offer robotically assisted surgical procedures and minimally invasive, computer-assisted joint replacements. Saint Vincent Hospital is located at 123 Summer Street, Worcester.