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May 6, 2021

Latest effort to resolve Saint Vincent nurses' strike unfruitful

Photo | Grant Welker Saint Vincent Hospital nurses went on strike March 8 for better patient staffing ratios. The strike was resolved Jan. 3.

Neither Saint Vincent Hospital or its striking nurses reported wins during Wednesday’s bargaining discussion, both sides reported Thursday.

Now 60 days into the strike, Saint Vincent Hospital accused the Massachusetts Nurses Association union of presenting a counter proposal including asks beyond those related to staffing issues, which has long been the central public contention between the Worcester healthcare provider and the nursing bargaining unit. Some 800 nurses have been on strike since early March, with roughly 100 or so reportedly crossing the picket line to continue working.

“Instead of agreeing to the UMass staffing language, which it had supported over a dozen times publicly, the MNA presented a counterproposal that took the best parts from the UMass contract, the existing Saint Vincent contract, last Saint Vincent proposal, and added even more on top of that,” the hospital said in an unattributed statement.

Among several examples, the hospital said the MNA asked for additional wage increases, as well as changes to language around floating nurses, a request for a defined benefit pension plan, and increased wage steps at the top of the hospital’s pay scale for registered nurses.

The MNA said on Thursday its nurses would not discuss specifics of the negotiations with the press in the interest of avoiding unnecessary rancor.

Discussions on Wednesday ran until after 8 p.m., according to the MNA.

Notably, Thursday is National Nurses Day. It was unclear as of Thursday morning when the MNA and Saint Vincent leadership would return to the bargaining table.

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May 6, 2021

I don't understand why they are still out there. The hospital agreed to the language and wages the nurses were asking for. They refused and said they want more? Am I reading it correctly?

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