For the first time in more than 30 years, nurses in Boston are going on strike. Tufts Medical Center and unionized nurses have not been able to reach an agreement after more than a year of negotiations.
1,200 nurses at Tufts Medical Center are staging a one-day strike. The nurses have been demanding better wages, higher staffing levels and -- the main sticking point -- better retirement benefits.
“What we need here is for the hospital to figure out their priorities. It’s not a financial crisis, it’s a priority crisis,” said Mary Havlicek-Cornacchia, co-chair of the nurses bargaining unit and an operating room nurse.
“It is not a place where any of us wanted to be. But we feel very much forced into this situation,” Havlicek-Cornacchia said on Tuesday evening after negotiations ended unsuccessfully. “The administration has not been listening to our concerns all along.”
Nurses rejected a $30 million package offered by hospital administrators. The hospital has said that nurses who participate in the one-day strike will be locked out for the next four days.
The hospital has brought in more than 300 temporary replacement nurses.
“We’ve recruited nurses from around the country that have the skills sets that we need to care for our complex cases here,” said Terry Hudson-Jinks, the chief nursing officer at Tufts who has been negotiating on behalf of the hospital.
No further negotiations are scheduled at this time.