Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Tufts Nurses Go On Strike Wednesday After Breakdown In Contract Negotiations

Tufts Nurses Go On Strike Wednesday After Breakdown In Contract Negotiations

The 1,200 registered nurses at Tufts Medical Center represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association walked out Wednesday morning, beginning a 24-hour strike after the latest round of negotiations Tuesday failed to yield an agreement.

Helen Keaney told the paper that working conditions began deteriorating "probably seven or eight years ago", with fewer nurses taking care of more patients. "This decision really shows administration's lack of respect for its nurses and for the safety our patients".

The hospital says it can't afford it and that anyone who chooses to strike will be locked out for an additional four days.

The strike by Tufts Medical Center nurses started at 7 am Wednesday with picket lines outside the hospital. They said the plan would mean big losses in retirement funding.

Tufts has hired more than 300 replacement workers under a guaranteed five-day, $5 million contract. "But make no mistake, we will continue to provide exceptional patient care", hospital president and CEO Michae Wagner said in a statement. "We don't have the staff", OR nurse Eileen Agranat said.

The main sticking points: staffing levels, pay and benefits.

"It's not a place that any of us wanted to be but we feel very much forced into this situation", said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia. "They leave holes on schedules. It's no longer acceptable". More than 30 negotiation meetings have been held over the past 15 months and a federal mediator has joined discussions.

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