People’s Party Statement on St. Vincent Nurses Strike

The People’s Party stands in solidarity with the more than 800 nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following years of deteriorating working conditions and months of failed negotiations with the Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, who owns St. Vincent Hospital, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) voted in mid-February to authorize the open-ended strike that began on March 8 at 6 am. 

The decision to strike follows a two year long effort to pressure Tenet to address safety and staffing concerns. According to the nurses, a staffing crisis has led to preventable falls and other injuries, bedsores, and even preventable deaths. The MNA has requested a 1:4 patient ratio which Tenet has thus far refused. 

Last week, rather than address these and other valid concerns during negotiations, Tenet Healthcare walked away from the table. Tenet Healthcare has also recently announced that their 2020 profits totaled more than $400 million. 

“It is clear from Tenet’s hardline stance on staffing that they are intent on forcing nurses to strike,” Marlena Pellegrino RN, co-chair of the bargaining unit, explained. “We are sad to see that Tenet holds so little value for our patients, yet we are resolved to do whatever it takes for as long as it take to protect our patients, as it is safer to strike now than allow Tenet to continue endangering our patients every day on every shift.”

The People’s Party stands in solidarity with the MNA and against corporate greed. Hospital executives and for profit healthcare systems must be held accountable for their hypocrisy when it comes to propping up the work of healthcare workers during a global pandemic and calling them essential and heroes while at the same time refusing to listen to their concerns, fostering an unhealthy and unsafe work environment for both them and their patients, and treating them as an expendable resource.