“HISTORIC” NURSES STRIKE ENDS IN MASSACHUSETTS WITH SIGNIFICANT STAFF IMPROVEMENTS
After more than nine months of a historic strike, nurses at Massachusetts St. Vincent Hospital, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, reached agreement on a contract calling for important improvements in staffing that will provide safer, high-quality nursing care for their patients. The strike was sparked by the impossibly overworked conditions of nurses at the hospital that cried out for additional staffing. The nurses had long complained about the need to add more staff to relieve their overload, a condition that was sharply exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic that was working them to exhaustion.
It was the longest nurses strike in the history of the state, marked by community support, rallies and marches as well as support from around the country. It was finally settled with the aid of federal mediators and a final session mediated by US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. Hailing the tenacity and militant spirit of the nurses, Marlena Pellegrino, RN, co-chair if the hospital’s local bargaining unit called it “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.”
The agreement also commits the hospital to a guarantee to take no retaliation against strikers and that all the nurses will return to the same position they worked before the strike.