Massachusetts Nurses Association Files 21-Count Unfair Labor Practices Charge Against Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

The charges allege a broad repudiation of the nurses’ collective agreement.

MNA alleges company fails to meet key staffing provisions, lacks systems and processes to pay nurses which undermine recruitment and retention of needed staff

BOSTON, September 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Following months, and sometimes years, of Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC) failing at least 21 aspects of the nurses’ union contract, the Massachusetts Nurses Association ( MNA) filed a sweeping and unprecedented 21-count unfair labor practice charge against hospital management with the National Labor Relations Board – violations that can compromise nurses’ ability to provide appropriate care to patients and the ability to recruit and retain the necessary nursing staff.

The 777 registered nurses at St. Elizabeth’s have had a union contract for years which they negotiated with Steward Healthcare, with the most recent version negotiated and ratified in 2018, but Steward failed to live up to the dictates of up to 21 different aspects of the contract. , including key patient care oriented provisions regarding nurse staffing levels and the appropriate use of charge nurses for patient care in specific units. There are several fees related to the payment of nurses and basic salary payment issues such as differentials, bonuses and required raises; as well as other requirements regarding nurses’ health insurance benefits, pension contributions, and tuition reimbursement. To obtain a copy of the billing document, send an e-mail: [email protected]

The charging document filed by MNA’s lawyers stated: “By his general pattern of non-compliance and not having a process in place to comply (although this contract has been in effect since 2018) with over 20 contractual arrangements in the last six months the employer unilaterally denounced the collective agreement.

The charges come as the nurses, like all hospital nurses in the state, had the toughest and most traumatic experience of their careers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic at a facility notorious for its failure to provide to these same nurses staff the protective equipment they needed to be safe, especially during the early stages of the pandemic. The situation calls for a concerted effort by all hospital employers to recognize nurses’ contributions and provide them with the resources to want to work in a high-stress hospital environment.

“Competition for nurses right now is fierce, but our leaders have given our hospital a terrible reputation that Steward does not honor staffing agreements, that your salaries will not be paid on time or accurately; that ‘they lack the most basic management and payroll processes,’ said Kirsten Ransom, co-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit with the MNA. “At a time when we are desperate to get more nurses to work here to care for our patients, they simply won’t come here or stay here if they come here under these circumstances.”

“RNs and every member of the care team have worked as hard as they can to get through the worst of times over the past two and a half years and we cannot understand how or why our administration refuses or is unable to follow through on a contract. they negotiated and agreed,” added Kate Cashman, RNco-chair of the nurses’ local bargaining unit with the MNA.

“We worked hard to negotiate a contract with patient safety and staffing as a priority, to provide an environment that respects the role and value of our nurses, and that would allow us to provide the best care to our patients” said Ellen MacInnis, RN, member of the nurses’ bargaining committee. “We need management to do their job not just for the staff but for the patients.”

According to the executive director of the MNA Julie Pinkhamwho has led the MNA for more than 20 years, overseeing the filing of unfair labor practice charges for more than 85 health care facilities that the MNA represents, “With the exception of Tenet Healthcare, owner of St. Vincent, I have never seen any employer engage in such a sweeping effort to violate a union contract. This is as reprehensible as it is unprecedented.

Now that the charges have been filed, they will need to be investigated by the NLRB who can then file a lawsuit against the hospital to compel it to comply with the agreement.

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 25,000 members advance the nursing profession by promoting high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general well-being of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic vision of nursing, and lobbying the legislature and regulatory bodies on health care issues affecting nurses. and the public.

SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association

Andrew B. Reiter