Massachusetts nurses union members walk out of hearing on Quincy Medical Center sale

Jack Encarnacao, Patriot Ledger, August 10, 2011 Quincy - A public hearing on the proposed sale of Quincy Medical Center became a battleground in a labor fight between the prospective owner and nurses from other hospitals it has bought. Dozens of members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association walked out of Tuesday night’s hearing at Quincy High School as a lawyer for Steward Health Care accused the union of distorting facts about the dispute over a pension plan. ... Massachusetts

Organize & Fight!

Julie Pinkham, a registered nurse and executive director of MNA, and a long-time resident of Houghs Neck, made it quite clear for all seated in our new high school auditorium Tuesday evening: the Massachusetts Nurses Association officially supports the sale in order to keep an acute-care hospital open in Quincy. But whether you’re a Verizon worker fighting to maintain what you’ve won over many years - and many strikes - or a union nurse demanding that a signed contract be honored, you’re not going to let those haughty miscreants beat you down. We nurses have been fighting for decades, on Beacon Hill and on Capitol Hill, for a just healthcare system, one that is universal, affordable, safe and equitable. Although the country is awash in money, it’s not being used to create good jobs, quality health care for all, affordable housing, a clean environment, refurbished schools, and bridges that don’t collapse. Too many politicians on both sides of the aisle support tax breaks for the richest one percent, and tolerate threats to our Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants and everything that may make the lives of working people more tolerable. And they allow, or even participate in, attacks on collective bargaining and the very unions that stand in the way of encroaching impoverishment. Don’t let corporate America crush you. Organize and fight - Sandy Eaton, RN, Quincy, Massachusetts

Be Angry

Attached below is the article that was printed in the Patriot Ledger this AM. Many of you were there and again I thank you for your support of the Quincy nurses, the hospital, MNA and each other. It was, I am sure, an eye opener for all of you. For those not there, we did as a group walk out of the hearing, except for the Quincy nurses present, understandably - it is their community open town meeting. The nurses who spoke did support the sale of the hospital to Steward, spoke eloquently about the history and support of MNA and existing contracts. The QMC contract has not been extended. Before a sale, this is very unsettling for them. After Paula Ryan (the chair of QMC) and four of her committee spoke, I spoke, Linda Barton from Norwood Hospital and Julie (Pinkham, RN, MNA Executive Directoy) - who is a Quincy resident. Everyone was supportive and professional. A Steward general council then stood up after Julie, Mr. Joseph Mayer. What he stated in the short time I was in the room was distorted, lies, attacking the profession and integrity of nurses and of MNA. I was horrified at what I heard from a professional, representing a major corporation, in a setting where they are trying to win over the public interests. His testimony included name calling. Many Quincy residents clapped for the nurses when we walked out. I am now more angry and fired up to continue to work with all of you and MNA. We will educate our nurses on this event. As soon as I can get his testimony, we need to share it with all nurses. They will be as appalled as those of us present. I continue to ask for your support going forward to support MNA initiatives to fight for our pension, which many of us negotiated and we all ratified. We must hold Steward accountable for all nurses. The first action if MNA is agreeable is I would like to create a cover letter with pictures of our job actions yesterday and have it included with the comparison document created by Siegel. The day started with an arranged meeting with the Attorney General, who was not present, only her next in charge. Then we got on the bus and brought all petitions from all four Caritas Hospitals to Ralph (de la Torre, MD, Steward CEO). We were swarmed by security and told to leave. They were obviously expecting us. Julie was able to bring the document to an administrative assistant. We did not see Ralph. The flyer from Siegel shows the pension we ratified and the differences Steward has put forth. Be angry - it is very different and not what our members voted for. Thank-you again for your support of all nurses - especially QMC, In Unity, Betsy (Prescott, RN, chair, MNA bargaining unit, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center)