"Seven Months Is Too Long"; Both Sides Want Worcester Nurses Strike To End

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Worcester, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Seven months have passed, and 700 nurses remain on the picket line at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester.

Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson addressed the nurses directly, saying in an open letter the strike has gone on “too long.”She’s asking the nurses to come back to work and put pressure on union leadership to end the strike.

After hospital owner Tenet healthcare declared an impasse last week, announcing its two-month-old “last best and final offer” would be put in place, Jackson said the plan was made effective Sunday.

The offer ensures ‘additional staffing on most units’ and ‘increased wages,’ changes leadership from the Massachusetts Nurses Association says are welcome.

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"We accepted that [offer] back in the middle of August," said nurse Marie Ritacco, responding to the letter from Jackson.

Nurse Ritacco says the MNA agreed to the plan because the community was in need, and most of their asks had been fulfilled. But she says one part of Tenet’s plan is keeping the MNA on the picket line: not every striking nurse is being guaranteed their job back.

"Nurses will not return to work unless we can return to our old positions," said Ritacco.

CEO Carolyn Jackson’s letter assured nurses the "vast majority of you will be able to return to your pre-strike roles."

As the hospital moves to implement a staffing increase, 700 nurses remain on the picket line. 

The MNA has filed a legal complaint over the offer being implemented and impasse declared — their 11th filed against Tenet Healthcare with federal labor officials.

WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@madisonwbz) reports:

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