BOSTON (AP/WHDH) — More than 1,200 Nurses at Tufts Medical Center in Boston are on strike for one day after talks between their union and hospital administrators about staffing levels, pay and benefits failed.

At 7 a.m. Wednesday, the nurses walked out to form picket lines, marking the largest strike in Boston in decades. Nurses said negotiations have gone on for 15 months with no agreement reached. The hospital has hired replacement nurses to work at the hospital for five days.

Workers told 7News that they feel there is not enough nurses or specialized nurses at the hospital. They also said wages at Tufts Medical Center are not competitive, making it hard to keep and hire nurses. Nurses said they also want better and “responsible” retirement benefits.

Barbara Tiller, of the Massachusetts Nurse’s Association (MNA), said nurses at Tufts are the lowest paid in the city.

“Nurses will come, we’ll train them and then they will leave within a year or two and go to hospitals where they can make three to eight dollars more an hour under better working conditions and better benefits,” said Tiller.

The strike is set to end at 6:59 a.m. on Thursday but nurses claim the hospital has threatened to lock them out for four days. Nurses said if they are turned away from working Thursday, they will continue to strike until Monday.

Tufts Medical Center said its main focus in the health and safety of all patient. The hospital issued the following statement:

“The MNA had an opportunity to reach an agreement tonight; they instead chose to strike and have our nurses walk out on patients. We went to the table today and offered a path forward that met the needs of our nurses. The union recycled their retirement proposal that is risky for nurses and expensive for the hospital. We have more than 320 experienced nurses here to care for patients beginning tomorrow morning. We will deliver the same exceptional care that we always have at Tufts Medical Center.”

The hospital is operating as normal while the strike takes place.

(Copyright (c) 2023 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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