St. Vincent nurses strike in Worcester becomes second longest strike in state history

WORCESTER, Mass. — The nurses’ strike in Worcester is now the second-longest in state history. Today marks 106 days that nurses at St. Vincent Hospital have been walking the picket line, claiming staffing levels are unsafe.

As this strike now enters this 15th week, the two sides don’t seem to be any closer to reaching a deal. Talks have gone cold since the last time the two sides were at the negotiating table at the beginning of May.

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The strike began March 8, when more than 700 nurses traded in their scrubs for signs, picketing around the hospital. This has become the second-longest strike in state history, surpassing a 104-day work stoppage at a Brockton hospital in 2001. The longest strike was recorded in Fitchburg and lasted six months back in 1980.

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The nurses at St. Vincent Hospital say all along that they have been asking for safe staffing levels. During negotiations, the hospital did offer staffing levels to meet some of the nurses’ requests and pay raises for some, but the two sides still have not agreed.

While the nurses have been picketing, the hospital has hired some of the replacement nurses that have been coming in to care for the patients. Other nurses are leaving altogether. Since the strike started, the union says about 100 nurses have found jobs elsewhere.

“I thought that we would have a settlement by now,” said Carolyn Moore, a registered nurse of 42 years at St. Vincent Hospital. “The settlement is easy, it’s just about staffing and it’s very negotiable, but the hospital walked away over a month ago from negotiations and they don’t want to come back to the table. We’re ready any time.”

Boston 25 News reached out to the hospital this morning and is waiting to hear back.