Brigham And Women's Hospital Outlines Contingency Plan For Possible Nurses Strike

As negotiations continue in an attempt to avert a nurses strike scheduled for Monday at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, administrators on Friday outlined their contingency plans.

The hospital says some 700 temporary nurses are ready to care for patients if its union nurses walk out on Monday.

"They're well trained and experienced nurses," COO Dr. Ron Walls said during a press conference on Friday. "We'll train them. The biggest challenge is getting them in and out, and we have lots of plans around that."

The hospital has arranged for 100 Boston police and security officers to keep hospital entrances clear on Monday.

As they work toward a new contract, the hospital and the nurses union have been unable to resolve differences over pay, benefits and staffing levels. The union has threatened a 24-hour strike on Monday if a deal isn't reached. It would be the first nurses' strike in Boston in more than 30 years.

Brigham President Betsy Nabel says with hospital revenue rising just 1 percent this year, it can not agree to the union's proposed wage increases.

"When you understand the hospital's financial position you will see why we could not agree to the demands of the union," Nabel said. "Not only are their expectations unreasonable, they are inequitable with the raises that we provide other employees."

The nurses union says they are negotiating to ensure the best care for patients and that the hospital is putting profits before employees and patients.

With reporting by WBUR's Martha Bebinger.



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