St. Vincent’s nurses’ vote Jan. 3 on deal to end strike
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Nurses at a Massachusetts hospital who have been on strike for more than nine months are scheduled to vote next month on whether to ratify a tentative agreement with management that will end the work stoppage, their union said Tuesday.
The vote by nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester is scheduled for Jan. 3, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
The specific terms of the deal are being withheld until they can be shared with nurses and the ratification vote is held.
The tentative agreement between about 700 hundred nurses at the hospital and Tenet Healthcare, which is based in Dallas, was announced on Friday following mediation by U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a former Boston mayor and labor leader.
“This agreement, and the improvements it includes was hard fought, and represents a true victory, not only for the nurses, but more importantly, for our patients and our community, who will have access to better nursing care, which was why our members walked that strike line for the last nine months through four seasons,” Marlena Pellegrino, St. Vincent nurse and co-chair of the bargaining unit, said in a statement.
The strike started on March 8, and according to the union, is the longest nurses’ strike in state history.
The strike was originally over staffing levels, but later became about whether striking nurses would be able to return to their old jobs after the hospital started hiring replacements.
The hospital in a statement Friday said 700 nurses will be able to resume their old jobs and the nurses hired to replace them will also be able to retain their current positions.
“We are glad to finally end the strike and put our sole focus back on patient care,” Carolyn Jackson, the hospital’s chief executive, said Friday.
The union is now mailing the full agreement to all nurses for their review and will be holding in-person and online meetings over the next several days to ensure that members are informed about all aspects of the deal.
Meanwhile, the nurses have agreed to suspend picketing outside the hospital “as a show of good faith,” the union said.