In full transparency, the press release and photo were submitted to SOURCE media for publication.
WORCESTER – Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester announced today, August 8, more than 100 permanent replacement nurses have been hired, most of whom are already at the bedside serving the community.
They will be joined by additional nurses in the coming weeks, 38 of whom are at various stages of the hiring process.
These nurses are stepping into roles vacated by nurses on strike with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), and are providing excellent care for patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, there are more than 200 nurses employed by Saint Vincent Hospital currently caring for our community.
Unfortunately, the MNA has posted a schedule of strike line social events through December indicating they have minimal interest or intention to end the strike (see screenshot below from a striking nurse posted on the SVH-MNA’s Facebook page on Tuesday, August 3).
As a result, the hospital will be posting the rest of the striking nurses’ positions over the next few days. Saint Vincent must take responsible action and hire as many nurses as possible to maintain access to ensure core services, as COVID numbers increase and the cooler weather approaches.
“These new nurses are joining numerous others who have served at our hospital for many years and who are truly focused on patient care. Together they are creating an improved culture within our hospital,” said Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson. “I want to express my sincere appreciation for all caregivers, especially the Saint Vincent nurses who put our patients first by crossing the MNA’s picket line, for their courage and resilience.” Jackson continued, “We are enthused by the continued interest of applicants for all our nursing positions and are focused on continuing to deliver the quality care we are known for.
The nurses currently working at Saint Vincent Hospital as well as many others have questioned the MNA’s false narrative regarding the bargaining sessions last week.
The federal mediator has confirmed that it was, in fact, the MNA who cancelled the session on Tuesday, August 3. And, while the mediator did offer to bring a different mediator to Worcester to support mediation, there was never a request nor intent to move the negotiations to Washington, DC. This has been confirmed with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service directly.
As we discussed with the mediator on Friday, while the hospital does not see any value in continuing mediation now that the Saint Vincent has given its last, best, and final offer, the hospital is certainly willing to listen to the MNA’s response to the hospital’s final offer. However, the hospital stressed that it does not intend to negotiate against its final offer and that the only acceptable response will be for the MNA to put the contract to a vote by its members which, to date, the bargaining committee has refused to allow.
The bargaining committee has also refused to acknowledge Saint Vincent Hospital’s recent recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Regional Hospital” and its top nurse staffing rating that is shared only with three other institutions in the state — Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center. This recognition verifies that the quality and staffing levels at Saint Vincent make the hospital a very attractive place to work and to receive care.
Importantly, U.S. News & World Report marks the third outside agency to provide an endorsement that Saint Vincent Hospital is safe and well-staffed.
In April, an independent 3rd party validated that Saint Vincent’s nurse staffing prior to and during the first two waves of COVID was appropriate and in-line with its collective bargaining agreement
In May, Patientcarelink.org, a well-respected comparison tool of staffing at all Massachusetts hospitals, showed SVH’s nurse staffing to be in the 75th percentile of peer hospitals
Now in August, the U.S. News & World Report rated SVH as having ‘very high’ nurse staffing, matched only by Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center in the Commonwealth.
The data from U.S. News and World Report was so compelling that it has even been the subject of a recent letter to the editor by Representative James O’Day and Senator Michael Moore celebrating the benefit of Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial’s achievements for the people of Worcester, without needing to make any comments about the ongoing dispute.
Each time the hospital has provided staffing data supported by very credible sources, the MNA has attacked the data without any facts to support their position. They continue to press a false narrative about unsafe staffing reports that they filed before the strike.
Unfortunately, their number is inconsistent in every attack and rises each time they report it. Saint Vincent Hospital took their initial report of 600 unsafe staffing claims very seriously and reviewed each and every claim.
The facts support there were only 392 in the 14 months leading up to the strike, not 600 or the new number of 1,000 cited most recently. Of the 392 filed, approximately 20% were filed by the 24 members of the MNA bargaining committee, or approximately 2% of the membership.
Additionally, of these 392 filed staffing reports, only 13 (0.05% of the nurse shifts) in the 14 months prior to the strike represented shifts that nurse staffing was outside of the contractual obligation. That means we were potentially under-staffed once in every 2000 nursing shifts. The MNA never used the agreed-upon union grievance process with the hospital to deal with any of these unsafe staffing reports, which is something they would have done if the reports were legitimate.
The facts are overwhelming – Saint Vincent is a safe, high quality and well-staffed hospital that is an excellent place to receive care and also a terrific environment for nurses to work.
We hope the bargaining committee does what many nurses are asking it to do, and takes this excellent last, best and final offer to a vote. It is time to return our community to normal and focus on our patients.
The positions mentioned above can be applied for by visiting the Careers section of the hospital’s website at www.StVincentHospital.com.
Editor’s Note: Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester is operated by Tenet Healthcare, which is based in Texas. The company also operates MetroWest medical Center in Framingham & Natick.