Nurses trying to return to work after strike locked out

Tufts Medical Center is breaking and setting a new record for heart transplants in the New England area

Tufts Medical Center is breaking and setting a new record for heart transplants in the New England area

Dozens of nurses were back on the picket line outside Tufts Medical Center in Boston Thursday morning.

"It's shocking to me that the MNA (Massachusetts Nurses Association) didn't even look at our proposal before walking out", said a representative for the hospital.

"We came to the table (Tuesday) hoping to reach an agreement, but Tufts management is determined to force a strike and a subsequent lock out of our nurses", said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, an OR nurse and bargaining unit co-chair.

More than 320 nurses were hired by Tufts to work Wednesday but, while the strike is over, the temporary nurses are contracted to work a minimum of five days.

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In many cities, for patients needing complex medical care, Tufts Medical Center would be the only destination in town.

Tufts CEO Michael Wager told the Associated Press that that strike is "extremely disappointing". While maintaining that they were "sympathetic" to the cause of nurses, he said the hike would also make health care cost go up, burdening the patients.

"It was a little intimidating getting him in, we had trouble getting him out of the vehicle", said daughter-in-law Lee Lukaszewicz. We have to act in a moment's notice.

"This is a different role for all of us", said nurse Jean Probert.

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More than 1,200 nurses participated in the 1-day strike in Boston over such issues as staffing level- and pension benefit-improvement, and salary increases. "We are facing huge threat from the hospital managements, including the ones controlled by the CPM, but we will continue our stir", said INA Kasaragod district secretary Ajeesh Chacko. "They leave holes on schedules. It's no longer acceptable".

The hospital issued a scathing statement and says it's all a stunt. This puts the formerly striking nurses out of work until next week.

Tufts has scheduled a media briefing for 10 a.m. Thursday. "If the nurses are going ahead with the strike, then we appeal to the government that the decision to revise the minimum wages should be reviewed". We communicated this to our nurses through emails, meetings and letters sent to their homes. The nurses had been seeking better work conditions including eight-hour shifts. They want to work.

A federal mediator has been brought in to help with negotiations.

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