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Warren, Markey, McGovern, Trahan Denounce Decision By Tenet Healthcare to Permanently Replace Frontline Workers

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Washington, May 28, 2021 | comments

WASHINGTON – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives James P. McGovern (MA-02) and Lori Trahan (MA-03), members of the Central Massachusetts State Legislative Delegation, and members of the Worcester City Council have sent a letter to Tenet Health (Tenet) expressing dismay and disappointment over Tenet’s recent decision to hire permanently replacement nurses at St. Vincent Hospital. The nurses are on an authorized work stoppage as contract negotiations continue between St. Vincent's, their parent company Tenet, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), which represents the approximately 800 professional nurses at the hospital. The existing contract between the MNA and St. Vincent's expired on February 11, 2021. The MNA authorized a work stoppage on March 8, 2021 after the existing contract expired.

The letter was sent in response to Tenet’s decision to walk away from table when negotiations resumed in the beginning of May 5, 2021 for the first time since the beginning of the work stoppage.

"Recently, we were encouraged to see an effort by Tenet to re-engage the nurses on the central issue that continues to leave the negotiations in a stalemate: staffing,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is our understanding that a staffing proposal was made by the MNA St. Vincent Nurses Committee that would settle this central issue. Instead of engaging in a back and forth to reach an agreement, we were shocked to learn that Tenet declined to return to the table and instead decided to invest further resources to prolong this work stoppage and begin to permanently replace these dedicated and respected nurses.”

Tenet, St. Vincent’s parent company, reported a $97 million profit in first quarter of this year. Since May 12, 2021, St. Vincent has announced over 100 job postings to hire permanent replacement nursing positions instead of returning to the negotiations table. 

“There should be no discussion whatsoever to replace striking workers, especially after everything these nurses have gone through the last year. These actions are causing great harm to our community and undermine workers’ right to organize. Once again, we urge Tenet to return to the table and conclude these negotiations so St. Vincent nurses can go back to doing what they do best – caring for our community,” concludes the lawmaker’s letter.

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