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April 11, 2024

Saint Vincent faces formal complaint from National Labor Relations Board

People stand on a sidewalk holding signs in front of Saint Vincent Hospital Photo | Grant Welker Saint Vincent Hospital nurses went on strike from 2021-2022 for better patient staffing ratios.

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a formal complaint against Saint Vincent Hospital citing a number of nurses’ union rights violations perpetrated by the hospital. The complaint is the latest development in a string of ongoing actions and proceedings against Saint Vincent, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, as nurses continue to bring forth claims which include allegations of unsafe working conditions, contract violations, and unlawful terminations.  

The complaint, filed in late March, is a consolidation of six cases based on charges filed by the hospital’s nurses between 2022 and 2024, according to a Thursday press release from the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA). 

The release lists violations in the complaint including:

  • A directive by Tenet to prevent MNA staff from visiting the hospital to meet with the nurses to enforce their contract and their union rights.
  • A directive by Tenet to prevent nurses from communicating their concerns about the unsafe working/patient care conditions with the Chief Nursing Officer and other nursing administrators/supervisors at the hospital, the persons ultimately responsible for creating conditions that the nurses report are endangering the safety of their patients on a daily basis. The nurses have not had a meeting with their nursing administration since June of 2022. In the complaint, the Labor Board cites the hospital's unlawful demand that instead of nurses meeting with their manager or a nursing officer, they can only meet with a human resource executive out of Texas to hear their concerns at every level. This executive who has no clinical background is responding to individual nurse concerns with a rubber stamp denial.
  • The refusal by Tenet to provide information on staffing and other issues they are lawfully required to supply in the nurses' effort to address longstanding concerns about staffing at the hospital.
  • The hospital's failure to negotiate with the nurses over the creation and elimination of an incentive bonus program designed to help address a staffing crisis the nurses contend has been engineered by the hospital to increase profits at the expense of patient safety.

“We are grateful for this charge against our administration and we look forward to the opportunity to present our case in court in our ongoing effort to hold our administration accountable for their abhorrent treatment of our members, and more importantly, for the impact these and other practices are having on the safety and dignity of our patients,” said Marlena Pellegrino, registered nurse and co-chair of the MNA local bargaining unit for the Saint Vincent nurses in the release.  “At the core of this complaint is Tenet’s refusal to meet with us or work with us in any meaningful forum to listen to our concerns and to respond to situations that are harming the very people we are all hear to serve.”

A trial for the case is set for 10 a.m. June 18 at the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Federal Building in Boston. 

Saint Vincent declined to comment when contacted by WBJ.

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