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City Council supports striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester

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City Council

Eight hundred nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester are poised for a third week of a strike that began March 8.

This is the longest nurses strike in two decades in Massachusetts. During this week’s Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution in support of the St. Vincent Hospital nurses on strike, standing in solidarity with their demand for a new contract with better patient and caregiver safeguards in place. Councilors Edwards and Flynn joined the picket line in solidarity with the nurses this past weekend.

St. Vincent, one of the few for-profit hospitals in Massachusetts, is owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. Tenet has been flying in temporary replacement nurses from other states. Notably, the strike is not about wages, but about patient staffing ratios and patient safety. The nurses have been trying to reach  an agreement with Tenet for the last two years. The Massachusetts Nurses Association states that nurses at St. Vincent often have to care for five patients at a time. They are asking for a limit of four patients per nurse, and safety-based adjustments of the nursing support staff.

In an impassioned statement, Councilor Edwards said “This is about saving lives, this is about recognizing that these are essential workers, these are superheroes doing their  jobs and we need to listen to them.” During the meeting, Councilor Breadon (who has worked in healthcare her entire adult life) was recognized as an original co-sponsor of the resolution and stated that she is urging Tenet “to put patients over profit.”