While hundreds of nurses and their allies picketed outside Tufts Medical Center in Boston Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker told WGBH News his administration is monitoring the strike and the hospital's performance.
Baker commended the hospital's management and the Massachusetts Nurses Association for being forthright with officials while planning for the strike and said state monitors are keeping an eye on patients inside the building.
"We do have folks on the ground to make sure there aren't any issues with respect to patient care, and there aren't," Baker said. "And my hope and my expectation is that folks will find their way back to the table and make this happen."
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, seven state surveyors are at Tufts Medical monitoring the hospital's operations as it remains open and staffed with temporary nurses. DPH says it hasn't found any problems so far and will continue to monitor the situation as long as needed.
The hospital has been working with DPH since last June to draw up a strike plan that is now being implemented, according to a DPH spokesman.
When asked if he expected to become more involved in ending the dispute, Baker said the safety of patients is his first priority, but hopes both parties will go back to the negotiating table to reach a deal.
While Baker wasn't eager to pick a side in the labor dispute, one Democrat who hopes to unseat him in next year's election aligned himself with the striking nurses.
"While nobody likes the disruption that strikes can cause, the struggle faced by the Tufts nurses is a perfect example of why we need strong unions fighting for working people every day," Newton Mayor Setti Warren wrote in a statement.