There has been a big switch in negotiations between the nurses on strike at Saint Vincent Hospital and Tenet Healthcare.
"We got it. Conditions will be exponentially safer in that building now," said Marie Ritacco, co-chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and nurse at Saint Vincent Hospital.
The MNA said they've reached a compromise with the hospital to improve staffing conditions.
"We have completed the negotiations regarding the improvement of patient care," said Ritacco. "We achieved the majority of what we needed to get."
What You Need To Know
- Friday marked day 156 of the strike between Saint Vincent nurses and Tenet Healthcare
- MNA and Tenet Healthcare reached an agreement on staffing
- MNA pushing to allow all nurses to return to their old positions
- If the strike goes through Aug. 31, it will be the longest nurse strike in Massachusetts history
However, the strike isn't over. Nurses are now asking for a back to work provision, ensuring every striking nurse can return to their previous positions.
"We feel our proposal is in line with what other proposals the MNA had in the past," explained Ritacco.
"Six months in, it is just not realistic," said Carolyn Jackson, president and CEO of Saint Vincent Hospital.
For example, the MNA said the hospital plans to replace two veteran nurses with more than 40 years of experience with newer nurses in the critical care nursery.
"These are nurses that have tremendous experience at caring for the sickest infants that we have in this building," said Ritacco. "They need expert eyes and hands to be able to intervene in a crisis. To replace them with novice nurses is just not good enough for our community."
The hospital hired 156 replacement nurses and said every nurse who wants a job after the strike will have one.
"We've offered up three solutions," said Jackson. "If your role is still available as it was pre-strike you can come back to your role. If not, there is an option to be on a bidding list and we've also offered up a severance option."
The MNA said allowing nurses to return to their old positions will make the return to work process easier on everyone in the hospital.
"It doesn't provide for a smooth transition back in the hospital and doesn't provide for working conditions that are safest for patients," said Ritacco. "It will be very chaotic and there is no need for it."
Should the two come to an agreement soon, the MNA said nurses could be back inside the hospital within a week to 10 days.
If the strike goes through August 31 it will become the longest nurses strike in Massachusetts history.