WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - St. Vincent Hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association on Friday announced they have reached a tentative deal paving the way for an end to the second-longest nurses strike in Massachusetts history.
On Friday, the 285th day of the strike, 700 nurses from St. Vincent Hospital reached an agreement with Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare that guarantees nurses the right to return to their original positions, with the same hours and shifts they worked prior to the strike, according to an official statement released by the MNA.
“We are just overjoyed and humbled by the support we received and we’re very anxious to get back to our home to start the healing process and start stabilizing the hospital,” said Marlena Pellegrino, co-chair of the MNA Bargaining Unit.
The tentative agreement was settled during an in-person session mediated by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh on Friday, according to MNA officials.
“Just having him in the room makes a difference–his expertise, his knowledge, and just his humanity,” said Pellegrino. “He’s a true supporter of nurses.”
Following the meeting on Friday, Walsh tweeted, “I applaud St. Vincent Hospital and Massachusetts Nurses Association coming to the table to reach an agreement. Thank you for all of your continued work to keep the community healthy.”
St. Vincent Hospital officials say they are glad to put an end to the strike and put the focus back on patient care, as a team.
“It’s been a very divisive nine months, so we’re going to have to focus very hard on making sure that everybody’s treated with dignity and respect and that we are working in the best team fashion we possibly can,” said St. Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson.
The 9-month long strike included 285 days of picketing, community rallies, and marches.
Returning nurses say the are looking forward to their return to St. Vincent.
“It’s an early Christmas present. We’ll be happy to get back into the hospital and take care of our patients,” Pellegrino said.
Specific details of the agreement are being withheld until the tentative agreement can be shared with the rank and file members and a ratification vote is held, according to the MNA.
Members of the MNA Bargaining Unit are slated to meet at a teamsters hall in Worcester on Saturday to go over the agreement and schedule a vote.
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