Community Rally Planned for 12 Noon!!
More than 200 MNA registered nurses, as well as friends and supporters from every corner of the commonwealth, enthusiastically walked a long picket line in front of Quincy Medical Center this morning following the impressive 6 a.m. kick-off to the bargaining unit’s 24-hour strike.
The strike has been organized in response to the dangerous staffing conditions that the RNs at Quincy Medical Center -- which is owned by Cerberus-Steward -- are being forced to work under. The one-day strike is the first nurses’ strike at a Greater Boston hospital in more than 25 years and it has been sanctioned by the most overwhelming nurses strike vote in Massachusetts history.
Staffing at Steward-Quincy Medical Center is at a bare-bones level, forcing nurses to care for too many patients at one time, which is compromising nurses’ ability to provide safe patient care. In fact, RNs have submitted more than 150 official written reports of unsafe staffing incidents to management in the last 14 months.
The long-standing patient safety concerns at the hospital turned into full blown crisis on February 17 when Cerberus-Steward, the for-profit owner of the hospital, shut down a 40-bed nursing unit. As a result, nurses report that as many as a dozen patients per day are being “boarded” in the hospital’s emergency department, sometimes for 24 hours or more under conditions the nurses consider to be unsafe.
“Our members have had enough,” said Paula Ryan, RN, a nurse at the hospital and chair of the MNA local bargaining unit. “We have attempted to negotiate for months with management. We have presented written reports; we have told them we are worried that there are imminent risks of negative patient outcomes. They have refused to respond except to say that this is a financial decision. We feel that we have a duty to our patients, our practice and to each other to take action. We also consider it to be our duty to the future of this hospital that we love. This is our hospital and we want it to succeed. But when you find yourself to be in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. We are at the point where we have to say ‘stop’.”
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