Hospital hit by nurses’ strike says it’s hiring replacements


A hospital bed (Nexstar, file)

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts hospital crippled by a nurses’ strike that’s now entering its sixth month says it’s hired more than 100 replacement nurses after talks aimed at ending the standoff stalled.

St. Vincent Hospital said in a statement Sunday that it planned to post more jobs in the coming days. “Saint Vincent must take responsible action and hire as many nurses as possible to maintain access to ensure core services, as COVID numbers increase and the cooler weather approaches,” it said.

Hospital officials accused the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the 700 striking nurses, of “minimal interest or intention to end the strike.”

The nurses, who have been on strike since March 8, are seeking staffing increases at the Worcester hospital owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare.

Union spokesperson David Schildmeier questioned whether the hospital has really hired replacement workers. In an email to The Boston Globe, he said: “Tenet has spent in excess of $100 million to force and prolong this strike to avoid accountability for providing the level of care patients of Worcester expect and deserve.”

Management at St. Vincent’s Hospital on Thursday presented what they called their “last, best and final” offer. The union promptly criticized it as an “unsatisfactory ultimatum.”

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