BOSTON, July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 3,300 Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) nurses, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), will vote on Wednesday, July 20 to ratify a tentative contract agreement reached last month that averted what would have been the largest nurse's strike in Massachusetts history and the first in Boston in 30 years.
When: Various times throughout the day Wednesday, July 20, 2016between 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Brigham and Women's Hospital at 75 Francis St., Boston and MNA HQ, 340 Turnpike St., Canton.
Who: The 17 elected nurses of the BWH RN Bargaining Committee and the 3,300 nurses they represent at multiple BWH facilities
What: Vote results to be available Wednesday night, contact Joe Markman at 781-571-8175 or [email protected]
Brigham nurses will be voting to approve a three-year agreement that protects safe patient care, enhances hospital security, successfully fights off attempts to implement non-union benefits for new nurses and includes a fair wage increase.
"This agreement, reached thanks to the hard work and solidarity of 3,300 Brigham nurses, was a win for patients, a win for nurses and a win for the public," said Trish Powers, RN OR staff nurse and chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association BWH bargaining unit. "Brigham nurses also had tremendous support from our patients, our colleagues, local unions, elected leaders and countless everyday citizens."
"This nearly historic strike and successful settlement was about front-line nurses standing up for safe patient care," Powers said. "It was about unionized nurses uniting for their profession. The key lesson here is that when a hospital agrees to work productively with its union members, everyone wins.
"When a health care employer recognizes that a unionized workplace is a democratic and productive workplace, patients are protected and nurses' voices are heard. This leads to improvements that may otherwise be lost to an ever-increasing focus on corporate health care profits. Brigham nurses have already engaged in productive negotiations over a proposed NICU phone system since reaching a tentative agreement. We are looking forward to working with the hospital to ensure safe patient care, but are prepared to stand up strong, if necessary, to protect our patients and our profession."
Meanwhile, BWH nurses also stand in solidarity with their fellow MNA nurses at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital (BWFH), who are negotiating a new contract. BWFH nurses plan to hold an informational picket outside their hospital at 1153 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain on Friday, July 22 from 4:30.to 6:30 p.m.Faulkner nurses are fighting over some of the same issues as Brigham nurses, including improved hospital security, safe staffing and equal benefits for all nurses.
"Brigham nurses stand with their sisters and brothers at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital," said Kelly Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse and vice chair of the MNA Bargaining Unit. "Every patient deserves safe and effective care, and every nurse deserves to be valued and respected."
MNA/Brigham nurses achieved major safe patient care victories through a months-long, concerted effort by well-organized staff nurses. Brigham nurses built up intense pressure on BWH/Partners HealthCare to value patients over profits, starting publicly in May with a picket of more than 1,000 nurses and supporters.
While continuing to negotiate a new contract with the hospital, the 17-member elected BWH nurse bargaining committee walked the halls of the hospital, talking to nearly all of the 3,300 Brigham nurses about their concerns and their willingness to stand up for their patients and profession by voting for a one-day strike. The resulting vote, on June 13, was the largest and most successful nurse strike vote in Massachusetts history.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses' union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.