WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Nurses and management at a Massachusetts hospital are scheduled to head back to the negotiating table on Monday in an effort to end a nearly two-month strike stemming from a dispute over staffing levels.
Negotiations between nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and the hospital's owner, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, will resume 3 p.m. The bargaining session was set up by a federal mediator.
About 800 nurses at the hospital walked off the job on March 8.
St. Vincent nurses say they are required to care for five patients at a time, a difficult task with COVID-19 precautions and care requirements, while other hospitals have a limit of four patients per nurse.
“We are hopeful that the hospital will come to the table in earnest with a serious proposal that will adequately address the needs of all of our patients and honor the integrity of the negotiating process,” Marlena Pellegrino, co-chair of the St. Vincent nurses’ bargaining unit of the Massachusetts Nurses Association said in a statement.
Hospital management is also eager to resume negotiations, St. Vincent CEO Carolyn Jackson said in a statement.
“We have always been ready to meet, but the MNA has declined," she said.
The hospital’s last formal proposal on March 1 included enhancements in staffing, but the union rejected the proposal, Jackson said.
The hospital has hired replacement nurses to care for patients.