MNA President Says Worcester Police Are A Danger To Striking St. Vincent’s Nurse’s, Wants Police To Be Disarmed And Defunded 


This is Katie Murphy, the President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

As the St. Vincent’s nurses strike heads into its 4th month more and more nurses are crossing the picket line. This is largely due to a loss of support form the public as a result of their association with the Teamsters, thugish behavior towards nurses who chose to go to work and help sick people, and their failure to meet with management.

So what did Katie Murphy do to improve the MNA’s perception with the public? She decided to sit down with a reporter from Jacobin Magazine, a socialist media outlet, to badmouth the Worcester Police and make it clear that this is about much more than working conditions. Here’s some exerpts:

Tenet has spent millions of dollars on the strike, including hiring replacement nurses and paying the Worcester Police Department to patrol the picket line.

Goodness gracious! A hospital hired nurses to heal the sick because the nurses they employ were refusing to work? How horrible! They should just let people die, I guess. Perhaps if the nurses didn’t associate with threatening and menacing Teamster thugs there wouldn’t be a need for the Worcester Police to be there in the first place. Just a thought.

Boston Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members Alexandra Bruns-Smith and Matthew Erlich recently spoke with ICU nurse and MNA president Katie Murphy about the Saint Vincent strike, the horrors of for-profit health care, and democratic socialism. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What should people know about the nurses’ strike at Saint Vincent?

A: In 2018, we took safe staffing to the ballot in Massachusetts because legislators showed no interest in making it law. At that time, hospitals were saying [safe staffing] should be settled at the bargaining table. So, in 2019, Saint Vincent nurses brought [safe staffing] to the bargaining table. And Tenet had no interest in discussing this.

In 2018 the MNA was pushing for a Yes vote on a ballot initiative that would limit the amount of patients a nurse could have. It lost overwhelmingly by over a million votes. Shockingly management had no interest in giving into their demands the next year after their horribly unpopular idea was rejected by voters.

Tenet has just refused to address this issue of staffing. [The nurses] want to get back in, but we have to go in safely.

Fact check – Tenet did address the issue of staffing but the MNA turned it down.

Q: Can you tell us more about MNA?

A: When I took over this job as president, I set a goal for myself: empower our members. If we’re at the hospital, and an administrator is saying, “I’m not going to send you an extra nurse, but you’re going to take this patient anyway,” that nurse would say, “Well, then, I’m not taking that patient. That patient will have to sit in the emergency room.”

Oh great! She’s bragging about how she’s ordering nurses to tell sick people who need urgent help to sit in the waiting room and cry about it because they lost at the polls in 2018. Yes, they care about patient safety for sure!

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Q: It seems like Tenet has been spending a lot of money on this strike, and they’ve recently threatened to hire permanent replacement workers. What do you think the strike is about for them?

A: The threat to replace nurses is a scare tactic. They could not fill the empty positions before the strike. This action has solidified the nurses’ belief that this company is not trying to find a solution, and we are even stronger.

Newsflash – you’ve already been replaced. The hospital is running fine without you, and if the strike doesn’t end soon then your jobs won’t be waiting for you any longer. You’re lying to your members while getting fat off of their union dues. Nice grift you got there!

Q: We’ve heard stories about nurses and picketers being harassed by the Worcester Police Department on the picket line. The city of Worcester confirms Tenet is paying more than $30,000 a day to the police department for overtime security. What do you make of this relationship between the Worcester PD and Tenet?

A: I’m in favor of completely demilitarizing the police. The weapons in their hands and the complete lack of training in emergency situations — [we see the result] on the front pages every single day. It’s dangerous for all of us.

And there you have it folks – the MNA officially wants to defund and disarm the police. Their President, who doesn’t live anywhere near Worcester, believes that Worcester cops don’t have the training to handle guns because she saw in the newspaper one time that a cop killed someone. They’re dangerous! You can no longer say that you support the nurses and the police.

Q: How did COVID factor into the decision to strike?

A: Under Massachusetts law, you can’t have more than two ICU patients at a time. [However, when] the governor declared an emergency, that law was suspended. Some hospitals were like, “Great, let the nurses take care of three patients and four patients.” That absolutely puts patients in danger.

According to nurses we spoke with the ICU at St. Vincent’s never had more than two patients per nurse. She’s confusing hospitals and proving the point that St. Vincent’s nurses have it easier and better than other nurses who are actually going to work.

Q: MNA has been an outspoken supporter of Medicare for All. Where does that support come from?

A: We’re supporting Representative [Pramila] Jayapal’s bill, which provides cradle-to-grave preventative care. If I have my card, then I can go to the local clinic, get my blood pressure medicine, make sure I have insulin, make sure I know what my nutritional guidelines are. We feel that, for our patients, [Medicare for All] is huge.

“Medicare for all,” includes you too, not just your patients, genius. That’s what the “all” in Medicare for all means. Glad to see the MNA is officially taking the stance that they want to eliminate private health insurance companies, prevent people from choosing the plan that fits them best, and force them to get government healthcare.

Q: As a fellow DSA member, I wanted to ask what being a democratic socialist means to you?

A: I believe that when [we’re] all comfortable, well fed and healthy, well educated, we all benefit. I think [policies] such as Medicare for All and free college are win-win. 

Oh good, the nurses union is officially a socialist organization that also wants free college. It’s a “win-win” for taxpayers to fund some nonbinary BLT-123’s degree in Gender Studies.

Q: What are the things that socialist organizations like DSA can do to support the nursing union and build relationships with labor?

A: We don’t have deep pockets, but what we have is people. And working together, building those coalitions where we are all speaking with one voice — on, let’s say, funding an unemployment system that would allow groups to feel like they could go on strike because they had the wherewithal to stay out — might be the way.

You don’t have deep pockets? You’ve been living off of union dues and unemployment for the last 12 weeks. The people who are actually going to work and getting threatened for doing so are paying these boomers to blockade entrances to the hospital.

These are Mattew Erlich and Alexandra Bruns-Smith, the two Ivy League “socialists” who interviewed their fellow socialist Katie Murphy.

Ever notice how all the people who claim to be socialists always seem to be white 20 something Ivy League trust fund babies who can’t find jobs that pay more than the kid from high school who learned a trade but think they’re owed more than him because they wasted 7 years acquiring useless degrees? I guess they can excuse their naivety on youth, but what’s Katie Murphy’s excuse? You’re a grizzled 50 something year old nurse. You’re way too old for socialism and “f the police” girl.



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