Worcester Independent Socialist Group (ISG) continues to support union nurses on strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. The nurses on strike are members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), fighting for safe staffing and other improvements in patient care, and safe working conditions. The MNA also fought for safe staffing limits before the pandemic including the statewide Yes on 1 campaign in 2018, which for-profit healthcare corporations like Tenet Healthcare, the owner of St. Vincent’s, poured millions of dollars into defeating by spreading disinformation through the corporate media. ISG members stood with the MNA nurses and patients for Yes on 1, and we stand with them now.
On Monday, March 22nd, over 80 people—including nurses, union activists, socialists, and other supporters—attended a virtual public meeting organized by ISG to help support the strike. Nurses spoke passionately about why they took the decision to strike, and supporters discussed ways to continue to build solidarity for the strike including how to fight back against Tenet and anti-union propaganda in the corporate media.
Only workers, who make the hospitals (and society) run, can defeat big corporations making money off of people who need healthcare! Winning this strike is the responsibility of the labor movement and working people, not just the nurses at St. Vincent’s, and not just people in Worcester. Tenet has at its disposal billions in profits and government handouts to try and outlast the nurses. A victory for the St. Vincent strikers will be a huge boost to other unions and workers in general, and help the struggle for high quality healthcare for everyone. ISG will continue to help build solidarity for the nurses on strike by joining the picket line, donating to the MNA strike fund, and helping to publicize the strike to other unions and the community. We appeal to all labor and community groups to help the nurses in their struggle. In the spirit of solidarity we suggest organizing:
- A mass rally of the MNA and supporters at St. Vincent’s. MNA members across the state could be bussed into Worcester, and all unions in the area could do the same for their members. As part of the rally, mass picketing could be organized at St. Vincent’s.
- Car caravans, like those organized by unions, including the MNA at the beginning of the pandemic, could be organized to visit neighborhoods in Worcester to let people know about the strike and to show support for the nurses!
- Standouts with nurses and supporters could be organized at City Hall and at high-traffic intersections throughout Worcester to spread the news of the strike and show solidarity.
ISG will continue offering active support for the strike. We will also continue to help organize members from other unions and community organizations to bring groups of their members to the picket lines, to donate to the MNA strike fund, and to publish resolutions of support for the strike. We also call on AFL-CIO and other unions in Central and Eastern Massachusetts to actively organize support for all workers at St. Vincent Hospital, including those organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), to not cross the picket line. We urge that all the unions at St. Vincent’s support the nurses by not working at St. Vincent’s until an agreement with Tenet can be reached that satisfies all the unions at St. Vincent’s. Workers at other facilities throughout the country owned by Tenet should consider organizing informational picketing and job actions to support the strike!
Picketing by the MNA will continue at St. Vincent’s Hospital from 6AM-12AM every day 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: https://forms.massnurses.org/we-stand-with-st-vincents-nurses/