WORCESTER - The Massachusetts Nurses Association [MNA] released a statement on Monday announcing the nurses strike at St. Vincent Hospital will continue.
MNA met with the representatives from Tenet Healthcare on Monday afternoon in a meeting organized by a federal mediator. MNA says the only change in the company’s proposal was to create a committee to review staffing levels every quarter.
Tenet Healthcare is the Dallas-based company that operates St. Vincent Hospital. The meeting between the two sides on Monday was the first since before the strike began on March 8.
MNA announced the meeting in a statement on Sunday, April 25. It said that Tenet, through the federal mediator, had agreed to present a proposal to move the process forward to end the strike.
MNA says its members reviewed the proposal after meeting with Tenet. In a meeting of its members later in the day, nurses voiced strong opposition to the offer.
Saint Vincent Hospital issued a statement late on Monday night, saying that MNA rudely dismissed the proposal it made on Monday.
The Hospital said it presented a “… comprehensive proposal that included the prospective portion of our generous wage and benefits proposal as well as all of the staffing concessions from our March 1st proposal.”
St. Vincent also said it proposed an audit committee for staffing which includes hiring an independent auditor chosen by the parties.
The statement also said it reiterated to MNA that it will not concede to an across the board staffing ratio of 4:1.
The primary issue for the MNA is an increase in staffing levels to improve what it calls unsafe patient care conditions in the hospital. It seeks a nurse to patient ratio equivalent with UMass Memorial Medical Center.
St. Vincent Hospital says its staffing levels are safe and similar to other hospitals in the state. It also says MNA is attempting to fight a campaign for rigid mandates for nurse to patient ratios that were the subject of a statewide ballot question in 2018.
In the 2018 election, 70% of Massachusetts voters opposed Question 1. The question would have established patient assignment limits for registered nurses working in hospitals.
Editors note: This story has been updated to include information from a statement by St. Vincent Hospital released late Monday night.