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Hospital and nurses union reach deal to end 9-month strike

December 18, 2021 GMT

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital have reached a tentative agreement to end one of the longest nurse strikes in state history.

The deal between the Massachusetts Nurses Associates and Tenet Healthcare, the Dallas-based company that owns the Worcester hospital, was announced late Friday. Union members will vote on the proposal at a later date.

The hospital said in a statement that 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 in a statement. “We will be setting a new tone at Saint Vincent Hospital: We are one team with a common purpose. Not striking nurses versus replacement nurses. Not nurses versus management.”

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, a former Boston mayor and labor leader in Massachusetts, helped broker the accord during an in-person meeting Friday, the union said in a statement. Federal mediators have been working for two weeks with both sides to reach an accord.

The nurses walked out in March complaining that staffing levels were too low and they had too many patients to care for safely.