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Posted by . on Jun 30th, 2017 2:34pm

As reported in the press, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA)'s own documents reveal that it is planning to strike at Tufts Medical Center at a time that is "most harmful to the hospital." Such action is not only harmful to the hospital, it also is harmful to nurses and others on the caregiving team, and is inexcusable. This type of irresponsible behavior hurts the nurses themselves, since costs of managing a strike will come from funding the hospital has available for nurses' wage increases, and more importantly it shows that the MNA leadership is putting themselves before patients.

The union leadership is also trying to put negative "spin" on pre-emptive steps by Baystate Franklin Medical Center to keep patients safe despite a one-day MNA strike at the hospital. The union knows that when it uses a one-day strike as a negotiating tactic, any replacement nurses must be hired for a minimum of three, or sometimes five, days. So what the MNA calls a "pre-emptive lock-out" is actually the hospital bringing replacement nurses in with enough time to bring them up to speed, and then fulfilling their three-day minimum contract requirements. This is a necessary and responsible action by hospitals and something MNA leadership should understand.

The nurses' union previously has also deliberately coordinated planned strikes in Massachusetts to take advantage of limited nurse replacements. I agree with Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi who wrote, "Interrupting patient care is a risk that everyone, including the union, should work hard to avoid — stat."

The MNA union leadership continues to take a hostile approach to interactions with the hospitals that employ its nurses. This is unfortunate, unnecessary and wrong. It not only harms hospitals, but has the potential to disrupt care.


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