Updated Solidarity Statement March 8, 10am
Worcester Independent Socialist Group (ISG) stands in solidarity with union nurses at St. Vincent hospital who are on strike as of Monday, March 8th. Workers everywhere, including essential nurses, have real power in the workplace, and using that power is the only reliable way to win safe patient limits, adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and safe working conditions during the pandemic. St. Vincent’s nurses have been struggling for safe patient-to-staff ratios since before the pandemic with efforts like the statewide referendum campaign in 2018, which for-profit healthcare corporations like Tenet Healthcare, the owner of St. Vincent’s, poured millions of dollars into defeating. ISG members stood with the nurses and patients then, and we stand with them now!
In the past year, nurses have filed more than 600 official “unsafe staffing” reports, including 110 since January 1st, 2021. These poor working conditions have led to more than 100 nurses leaving St. Vincent Hospital since the pandemic began, compounding the existing staffing problem. These are vital issues in the new contract negotiations between the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) and Tenet Healthcare. Tenet Healthcare has repeatedly shown complete disregard for healthcare workers’ and patients’ safety and well-being. This includes Tenet hoarding federal and state COVID-19 emergency funds while laying off nurses, failing to purchase adequate PPE, and failing to separate COVID and non-COVID patients.
ISG calls on labor and community groups to join us in offering active solidarity including joining the picket lines and raising strike funds. We also call on all workers at St. Vincent Hospital, including those organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters to refuse to cross the picket line. Support the nurses and do not go to work at St. Vincent’s until an agreement with Tenet can be reached that satisfies all the unions and elected representatives of non-union workers.
Check out ISG member and railyard worker (TCU/IAM Local 1089) Nick Wurst’s speech at the MNA’s Pre-Strike Rally on Sunday, March 7th.
Picketing will occur from 6AM-12AM until a fair contract is won. We encourage community members and organizations to join the picket line.
To get involved, donate, and learn more, check out the MNA’s page supporting the strike here.