The nurses reached an agreement that will allow them to return to their original positions and see improvements in staffing
On Jan. 3, St. Vincent Hospital nurses cast a vote to ratify a new contract, ending the longest nurses’ strike in the state’s history. After almost 10 months and over 43 negotiating sessions, they arrived at an agreement that will enable the hospital to recall nurses and reopen hospital beds, just as the Omicron surge emerges.
”I stand here tonight humbled beyond words by our journey and we are overjoyed to report that our members have cast an overwhelming yes vote to ratify an agreement that officially ends the historic St. Vincent Nurses Strike,” said Marlena Pellegrino, a 35-year nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “For nearly 10 months our nurses have walked the line for safer patient care, for the honor of our profession and for the right of all workers who make the difficult decision to engage in a lawful strike to return to their original positions. As we stand here tonight we can proudly say we have achieved our goals.”
“This is an enormous victory for our patients and our members, and it is a testament to the grit and determination of every nurse who walked that line, day in and day out, through four seasons, 18 hours a day, in snow, pouring rain, through blazing heat and stifling humidity – all for the good of our community,” Pellegrino added. “As we conclude this struggle, our eyes are focused on the future, on returning to our home, to the hospital bedside to do what we love the most, which is to provide the high quality care our patients expect and deserve. We go back in that building with our heads held high focused on healing, not only our patients, but to work with all in our hospital community to rebuild and restore a sense of stability, with a commitment to ensure a bright future for St Vincent Hospital.”
The 700 nurses had reached a tentative agreement with Tenet Healthcare on Dec. 17, 2021. This guarantees that striking nurses will be able to return to their original positions and provides the needed staffing improvements.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.