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UMass Memorial Nurses Plan To Strike

This article is more than 7 years old.

Nurses at UMass Memorial Medical Center-University Campus are planning a strike after the latest round of contract talks failed to result in a deal.

Union officials representing 1,100 nurses spent four hours negotiating Monday, and no negotiation sessions are planned before a strike scheduled to start at 6 a.m. Thursday.

"We are disappointed by management's refusal to negotiate a settlement to this contract, yet we are committed to standing up for patients and our union rights," said Margaret McLaughlin, a nurse and co-chairwoman of the University Campus bargaining unit.

Hospital management expressed disappointment but say the hospital has spent $4 million to hire temporary nurses.

Nurses who work at the Memorial and Hahnemann campuses reached a contract agreement last week and are not planning to strike.

UMass Memorial Health Care President and CEO Eric Dickson said in a statement that the University Campus bargaining unit came in with a proposal that "far exceeded the agreed-upon terms" of the Memorial-Hahnemann package accepted Friday.

"As the Medical Center has repeatedly informed the MNA, it has already incurred significant costs to prepare for the threatened strike," Dickson said.

The Telegram & Gazette reported that the union and hospital management are at an impasse over staffing levels, especially at night. Nurses want the hospital to set a patient-to-nurse ratio of 5-to-1. The Massachusetts Nurses Association says it's now 7-to-1.

Nurses and administrators also disagree on pensions, vacation time and other issues.

UMass Memorial says University Campus will be "fully operational" during the strike.

This program aired on May 21, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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