The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents about 3,300 nurses at BWH, announced this week its intention to hold a strike on Monday, June 27, prompting BWHC leadership to implement its tactical plan for ensuring the continuity and safety of patient care during the work stoppage.
Should the strike occur, the hospital would bring in approximately 700 temporary nurses for five days in order for BWH to ensure safe, effective care and to manage the contract with the agency in a financially responsible way. The work stoppage for MNA nurses would end Saturday, July 2, at 7 a.m.
BWH and the MNA have scheduled another negotiation session for Friday, June 17. If both parties mutually agree on a new contract then, or at any time before June 27, the strike would be called off.
Approximately 140 nurses at BWH are not represented by the union and will continue to report to work as usual. Additionally, nursing management, senior leadership and other health professionals will actively work to ensure that patients are well-cared for and safe. The hospital would operate at about 60 percent of its usual volume during those five days.
“We will be prepared to ensure safe operation of the hospital and deliver high-quality care during the work stoppage,” said Ron M. Walls, MD, BWHC executive vice president and chief operating officer. “At the end of the five-day period, we will ensure a smooth transition as our nurses return to their units and our patients.”
The strike announcement came after the MNA held a strike authorization vote June 13, following 19 unsuccessful bargaining sessions over the past nine months.
“Our goal is to reach an agreement, not to see a strike or disrupt the care of our patients. At the same time, we must plan as though the strike will occur so that our patients continue to receive safe, high-quality care,” Walls said. “During this difficult time for our entire hospital community, let us continue to show respect for each other and maintain our focus on the needs of our patients.”