Almost 1,000 nurses from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester are headed into their second week of a strike.
Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester went on strike Monday in response to what they describe as the failure of hospital leadership to increase staffing levels and thereby ensure patient safety. Nurse staffing levels are the central sticking point in contract negotiations that began between the nurses and the hospital’s owners, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, in the fall of 2019. The nurses and the union that represents them, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, say their staffing level has been lower than industry standards for too long, and it’s putting patients in danger. According to the nurses, most of them take care of five patients, as opposed to the industry standard of four patients per nurse.
“It’s a tough decision, especially the nurses that just had to walk out on their patients,” said registered nurse Chris Louissaint. “No one wanted to strike; it’s something that we had to do to take a stand, to show that the conditions inside aren’t safe for patients.”
The 800 nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester just went on strike over what they call “deplorable” staffing levels and conditions that put patients at risk. Hospital says staffing levels are on par with peer hospitals. pic.twitter.com/eYX8qLtb0B
— Lynn Jolicoeur (@LMJolicoeur) March 8, 2021
— Ashley Green (@agreenphotog) March 12, 2021
— New York Post (@nypost) March 9, 2021
Tenet can end this strike right now. Get back to the table & do the right thing. pic.twitter.com/lLyOXpLULv
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) March 12, 2021
Several people have messaged me about this strike, asking me to chime in, but I don’t have a strong enough opinion on it. I’m naturally empathetic towards nurses and I support the right of labor unions to organize, collectively bargain, and if necessary, strike. I also know that labor negotiations are complicated, and while opportunists like Jim McGovern and Elizabeth Warren are blindly supporting the union I understand that not everything is black and white.
However, hospitals still need to function, and in order to do that management had to bring in replacement nurses, AKA scabs. Personally, if I were in a union that was on strike I wouldn’t like scabs because they undermine what the union is trying to get done. But I’m also a realist and I know that you can’t give unions everything they demand, and thus when they go on strike the hospital must be able to treat their patients.
Some nurses from the MNA disagree that hospitals should function with nurses while they are on strike. This is Marie Ritacco and Francine Foley.
They help run a private Facebook group called MNA Nurses of St. Vincent Hospital where they routinely dox replacement nurses and target them for harassment. The other day Francine specifically called out three nurses for the crime of going into work during a pandemic, and encouraged others to add more names to the list. Marie obliged.
Marie made a post for “scab of the day,” targeting a young nurse named Kady Bonica. She gave the exact time Kady would be getting to St. Vincent’s, and encouraged striking nurses to target and harass her when she arrived to work.
Ironically these are the rules of the group.
This is exactly how your union loses support of the public. Any empathy I had towards them was immediately gone when I saw this, and lots of other nurses agree. A former nurse in the group posted these screenshots on her Facebook page, pointing out that these women bring shame to the profession, and one of the targeted nurses saw it.
Some urged the targeted healthcare workers to contact the Telegram and Gazette.
Where have these people been if they think the Turtlegram and Gazette is the media outlet you call for a story like this? There is only one place to call for a story calling out shitty behavior on social media – TB Daily News. This is what we exist to do. No offense, but what planet are these people living on where they think there is any remote chance the mainstream media would cover a story like this? Jim McGovern and Elizabeth Warren are there to support striking nurses, therefore the media will not publish anything that makes striking nurses look bad.
The fact of the matter is that Marie Ritacco is a bully who doesn’t care about healthcare and is willing to endanger healthcare workers for the crime of wanting to help people live during a pandemic. Apparently she would prefer people die until the union gets everything they want. Many of these dead people would be black and brown, but apparently these black lives do not matter to her in spite of the trendy Facebook filter she began using in June.
The only black lives that have ever mattered to people like Marie Ritacco are the ones where people died while breaking the law and resisting arrest.
Marie is currently the Vice President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, but only because she ran for President and failed miserably, so this is her consolation prize.
She has been advocating for the horrifically detrimental lockdowns that have destroyed the lives of millions, impacted the mental health of children, and led to a suicide rate spike, despite the fact that we now know that social distancing and lockdowns did absolutely nothing to stop the spread of the virus.
We need continued use of masks, hand hygiene and physical distancing. Science and data will get us beyond this.
While she was doing that she was also attending BLM rallies with other nurses, where no social distancing occurred.
The replacement nurses aren’t doing it for the money, they’re doing it because they feel a sense of duty to help sick people get better and save lives. Now they’re being attacked and shamed by these bullies for it. In reality it’s people like Marie and Francine should be shamed. They probably don’t feel ashamed of themselves but I know Florence Nightingale would be ashamed of them.
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