Nurses Vote to Strike over Patient Care Concerns at UMass Medical Center

P R E S S  R E L E A S E

Sandy Eaton, retired union nurse speaks at nurse's rally at UMass Medical Center
Sandy Eaton, retired union nurse speaks at nurse’s rally at UMass Medical Center

For Immediate Release

Date: April 11, 2013
UMass Medical Center Nurses Cast Overwhelming Vote to Authorize a Strike
Over Longstanding Concerns About Poor Patient Care Conditions

After Posting More Than $88 Million in Profits, UMass Memorial Medical Center Has Slashed its Nursing and Support Staff in the Last Two Years and Has Gone From Being the Best Staffed Hospital in the City to the Worst, While Also Posting Among the Lowest Rankings in the State for Quality Patient Care

WORCESTER, MA – In response to deteriorating patient care conditions, the registered nurses who work at the Worcester-based hospital campuses of UMass Memorial Medical Center (UMMMC) cast an overwhelming  vote tonight to authorize a one-day strike as management continues to refuse to agree to desperately needed improvements in staffing levels at this major tertiary care provider.

More than 2,000 nurses are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United at UMass Memorial Medical Center.  The secret ballot vote was held throughout the day at Coral Seafood Restaurant in Worcester, with 83 percent of the nurses voting in favor of a strike.  The vote does not mean the nurses would strike immediately.  It gives the negotiating committees the authorization to call a one-day strike if and when they feel it is necessary.  Once the committee issues its official notice to strike, the hospital would then have 10 days before the nurses would go out on strike.

The strike vote was called after the nurses on the University Hospital and Memorial/Hahnemann campuses of UMMMC have been engaged in over a year of negotiations for a new union contract, with little progress on a number of key issues, including the nurses’ call for safer RN staffing levels. The nurses are outraged about poor patient care conditions, a lack of resources, and untenable patient loads following more than six layoffs involving hundreds of RNs and support staff over the last two years.

AFL-CIO Pres. Trumka Condemns Obama Budget

AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka
AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on FY 2014 Budget Proposal

April 10, 2013

A president’s budget is more than just numbers.  It is a profoundly moral document.  We believe cutting Social Security benefits and shifting costs to Medicare beneficiaries – while exempting corporate America from shared sacrifice – is wrong and indefensible.

The administration’s budget cuts cost-of-living increases for current and future Social Security beneficiaries by $130 billion over 10 years, and much more in future years.  It shifts $64 billion in health care costs to Medicare beneficiaries over 10 years.  Yet despite closing some loopholes, it calls for corporate income tax reform that is “revenue neutral” – meaning it fails to ask big, profitable corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.

richard-trumka-and-barack-obamaThe Obama budget also continues to demand more sacrifice from federal employees than from Wall Street.  Federal employees did not cause the Great Recession.  They did not cause the deficits that resulted from the Great Recession.  Yet their pay and their retirement keeps getting cut.  Why?

Putting aside the injustice of demanding sacrifice from the innocent while letting the guilty off scot free, the Obama budget falls short of putting our economy on a path towards higher wages and full employment.  As we have said many times, the greatest economic challenge facing America is the jobs crisis, not the deficit.  Yet the administration cuts the part of the budget that pays for investments in worker training and jobs, which has already been cut to its lowest level since the Eisenhower administration, by another $100 billion. This austerity budget is bad economic policy at a moment when the economy remains weak and we urgently need more job-creating investments.

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