Nurses Union Schedules Vote On Strike

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With contract negotiations at an impasse, the union for Tufts Medical Center nurses says it has scheduled a vote Thursday on whether to authorize a strike over what it says are unsafe staffing levels at the hospital, The Boston Globe reports.

Staffing at Tufts Medical Center and several other hospitals across the state has emerged as an issue in contract negotiations with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents 23,000 members at hospitals, health care clinics, and other sites across the state.

The union says that recent cuts in staff and other changes in how they deliver care mean that nurses are caring for more patients at one time on nearly every unit. These changes, its says, have transformed the hospital from one of the best staffed in Boston to the worst. The hospital says that it has shifted some duties previously done by nurses to other staff and that it fares well on various measures of quality care.

According to the MNA press release:

The strike authorization vote has been scheduled to take place throughout the day and into the evening on Thursday, April 14. Nurses will cast their vote by secret ballot at the Asian Community Center at 38 Oak St., (around the corner from the hospital) from 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; and at MNA Headquarters at 340 Turnpike St. in Canton from 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. The vote does not mean the nurses will strike immediately. It gives the negotiating committee the authorization to call a one-day strike if and when they feel it is necessary. Once the committee issues its official notice to strike, the hospital will then have 10 days before the nurses will go out on strike.

This program aired on April 11, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.