WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Dozens of nurses rallied outside Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester Saturday as their strike for safer staffing levels nears 100 days, and elected officials are calling for hospital ownership to negotiate with the striking workers.
It’s the longest strike nationally in more than a decade, and Saint Vincent has hired temporary nurses and some new permanent ones during the strike. The nurses walked off the job 97 days ago, saying Tenet Healthcare, the Texas-based company that owns the hospital, has reduced staffing and hurt patient care.
“Just because they were trying to save money didn’t mean the patients deserve the care that they deserved,” said Jule Tomyl, a maternity nurse with four decades of experience who said part of her staff was furloughed at the start of the pandemic.
Speaking at the rally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tenet brought in big profits during the pandemic.
“While they’re trying to push our nurses out the door they’ve already made $97 million in profits. Let’s be clear, tenant has the money to end this strike today,” Warren said.
“Saint Vincent Hospital made multiple, escalating offers in past negotiation sessions, only to have each rejected by the MNA bargaining committee without a meaningful counterproposal,” a Tenet spokesperson said in a statement. “We stand ready to meet with the MNA any time it is ready to present a reasonable proposal rather than just say no to every proposal we have offered and not be willing to compromise.
Congressman Jim McGovern said Tenet needed to come to an agreement with the 700 nurses on strike.
“I have news for Tenet, these nurses are irreplaceable. They’re what makes Saint Vincent’s great. If you turn your back on them, you turn your back on the entire community,” McGovern said.
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