Nurses at Brigham and Women’s say they’re being forced into unsafe, cramped shuttles on their way to work

BOSTON (WHDH) - Healthcare workers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital say they are fed up with being jammed onto crowded shuttles sitting shoulder-to-shoulder for rides lasting up to 20 minutes. They say it is unsafe in these uncertain times.

The nurses say they have brought these complaints to management several times but that they refuse to implement the 50 percent capacity that the nurses are asking for.”I am not going to put myself at risk, and out of principle, I am not getting on that shuttle.

“It makes no sense,” NICU nurse Kristen Robishaw said. “The shuttles are literally shoulder-to-shoulder, not following the CDC recommendations about social distancing it’s literally impossible to socially distance on the work shuttles.”

Robishaw, who has taken the shuttle from the crosstown garage, says the shuttle drivers encourage healthcare workers to fill every seat.

She and other nurses are demanding the hospital observe the proposed occupancy limit.

“We arrive here at work and the same people shoulder-to-shoulder on the shuttle are encouraged to stand apart in the escalators and stay 6-feet apart,” she explained. “So it really defies logic the way this is being handled.”

In a statement sent to 7NEWS Mass. General Brigham said in part, “Mass General Brigham shuttles, for the most part, run at 50 percent capacity or less. At peak hours, the Crosstown route has occasionally exceeded 50% capacity with a new shuttle arriving every 5-7 minutes.”

But Robishaw says the hospital is putting employees and patients at risk.”To be telling the public that they are doing everything possible to keep patients and staff safe is really disingenuous that is not in fact happening,” she said.

The nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association said they hope to reach an agreement with management soon.