Worcester Nurses Strike Reaches 100 Days, With No End in Sight

It's now one of the longest nursing strikes in the nation for more than a decade

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It's been 100 days of walking the picket line outside Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, a milestone striking nurses and their families never thought was possible.

"Never thought we'd be out for 100 days," said Marsha Holm, a same-day surgery nurse for 28 years.

"It's a sad day to mark. It's pretty somber," said Marlena Pellegrino, a medical/surgical nurse for 34 years.

The job action long ago surpassed a 49-day strike at the hospital 21 years ago.

"I said, that's ridiculous -- 49 days, seven weeks -- and we've more than doubled that now," said Mike Beer, a spouse of a striking nurse.

Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts will begin to hire permanent replacements for nurses who have been on strike for two months.

It's now one of the longest nursing strikes in the nation for more than a decade, and as of Sunday, it will become the second longest strike in state history. It's likely to reach that milestone, as both sides say there are no negotiations scheduled.

Carolyn Moore, an endoscopy nurse for 42 years said, "It's hard, but I think everybody understands we're ready to go back to the table any day."

Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson said the Massachusetts Nurses Association hasn't been receptive to her team's proposals for the striking workers.

"It's very frustrating, we've put two very good proposals, two different and very good proposals on the table, and the MNA isn't interested in discussing either one of them," she said.

By their count, Jackson said, 184 nurses have crossed the picket line.

They've also begun hiring permanent replacement nurses for more than 100 positions to ensure continued quality care for the duration of the strike.

"What we've been told is the bargaining committee had told nurses to prepare to be out until September," Jackson said.

But bargaining committee members on the union side say they've given counterproposals and the hospital's owner, Tenet Healthcare, stopped negotiating.

Dominique Muldoon, a med-surgery nurse for 24 years said, "It's been 100 days of just stalling and not real serious talk about staffing, and we need the staffing."

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