The latest effort to resolve a five-month-long strike by nurses at a Massachusetts hospital has ended without a settlement.
Management at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester on Thursday presented what they called their “last, best and final” offer, which was promptly criticized by the nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association as an “unsatisfactory ultimatum.”
Hundreds of nurses went on strike March 8 to demand better staff-to-patient ratios, which they say are critical for patient safety. But the hospital, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, says staffing levels are in line with industry standards. Management has proposed better staffing in some units.
“This is in no way represents a good-faith effort to find a resolution to this crisis and just demonstrates Tenet’s callous disregard for their nurses, and more importantly, for our patients and our community, whose future health and safety are at the center of this dispute,” Marlena Pellegrino, a St. Vincent's nurse and co-chair of the local bargaining unit, said in a statement. “It is only through good-faith negotiations, not hard-headed ultimatums, that a fair agreement can and will be reached.”
St. Vincent in a statement said its latest offer to the nurses Thursday would put its staffing among the best in the state.
“Our last, best and final offer remains generous across wages and benefits, and includes extensive investments in nurse staffing, building upon the hospital’s ‘very high’ nurse staffing rating by U.S. News & World Report,” hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson said in a statement.
In response to the strike, the hospital last month scaled back some services and reduced capacity.