Conflicting Accounts on Nurses' Last Lockout day

A Boston hospital where nurses and their supporters have been picketing while on strike said there was an alleged attack on buses carrying replacement nurses.

Tufts Medical Center claimed "supporters threw coffee on bus drivers, pounded on windows, and stood in front of the buses as they tried to leave" for work on Sunday morning.

Tufts Chief Nursing Officer Terry Hudson-Jinks said that she was "crushed" about the alleged attack and what the hospital thinks is the Massachusetts Nurses Association's involvement.

"What is disturbing is we did see MNA placards there," she said. "We saw them."

The MNA said the union doesn't advocate the use of violence and that the incident involved members of "outside organizations."

In a statement that contrasts with the hospital's account, Massachusetts State Police said that they responded to the Boston Logan Airport Hilton around 5:45 a.m. and saw "no violence or throwing of objects or items."

Police said there was a protesting group that did not have a permit but that they were "cooperative and dispersed without incident."

The 24-hour strike by about 1,200 nurses ended at 7:00 a.m. Thursday. Since then, the nurses have been locked out by the hospital because about 320 temporary nurses hired to care for patients during the strike have a five-day contract.

The union and the hospital are still at an impasse over staffing levels, pay and retirement benefits, but the nurses will be back at work on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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