When: Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Where: Taunton Green
Who: -State Senator Marc Pacheco
-Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye
-Estele Borges, Taunton City Councilor
-Steven A. Tolman, President of the Mass. AFL-CIO
-Nurses and health professionals from Morton Hospital
-Local patients, community leaders, labor supporters, and concerned citizens
In response to years of failure to honor commitments to the Taunton community and the frontline nurses and health professionals who work at Morton Hospital, caregivers, joined by community leaders and concerned residents will hold a rally on the Taunton Green this Saturday for Morton Hospital and the health of the community.
“The nurses and healthcare professionals of Morton Hospital, are some of most talented and dedicated caregivers working in health care. They care for the community day in and day out. But Steward Health Care doesn’t keep its promises to the staff or the community, and that’s harmful to all of us who depend on this facility for care,” said Jacqui Fitts, RN, a nurse in the Morton Hospital maternity unit and chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
Three years ago, the nurses and health professionals of Morton Hospital negotiated their first contract with Steward that included specific, safe RN-to-patient staffing limits that, if followed, would ensure patients received the care and attention from nurses and other professionals they expect and deserve.
Steward has failed to honor its contractual commitment for RN staffing. Throughout each week Steward is violating the contract, forcing staff to care for too many patients at one time. MNA members have provided written documentation of more than 235 such incidents in 2016 alone.
Steward has failed to honor its promise to the community in opening and expanding care for patients seeking care in the new emergency department without increasing staff. Although Steward built a new emergency department, nearly doubling its size, it has refused repeated staff requests to increase the number of nurses and nursing support staff or to consistently provide a security staff person in the ER.
Steward has also failed to honor its commitment to provide promised care to the children of Greater Taunton when it shuttered its popular pediatric unit, despite a formal Department of Public Health finding that this service was needed by this community and should remain open. As part of its plan to close the pediatric unit, Steward made a subsequent promise to the community and to the MNA members, to maintain a separate area of the emergency department specific to the care of pediatric patients, consistently staffed with nurses who specialize in caring for pediatric patients. Steward has broken its commitment by rarely having specialty pediatric trained RNs on hand for ill children, as promised, and the physically separate designated pediatric area does not exist in the new ER.unit..
The rally also precedes the opening of negotiations for a new contract between the hospital’s health professionals and Steward.