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Federal Mediator Calls For Negotiations On Monday Between Quincy Medical Center Nurses And Cerberus-Steward Management Prior To April 11 Planned Strike

Nurses Look Forward to Opportunity to Negotiate a Settlement to Address Serious Patient Care Concerns and to Avert the Need for a Strike

Editor's Note:  Follow this link to view a detailed report on the patient safety crisis at Quincy Medical Center http://www.massnurses.org/files/file/News/2013/March/Quincy-Medical-Center-Patient-Care-Crisis.pdf

QUINCY, Mass., April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal mediator has scheduled a meeting between the Quincy Medical Center nurses, and Cerberus-Steward Health Care on Monday, April 8 at 10 a.m. prior to the nurses' one-day unfair labor practice strike on April 11. 

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"We look forward to any opportunity to meet with management in a good faith effort to reach a settlement that will put an end to a growing patient safety crisis at our hospital," said Quincy Medical Center Emergency Department RN and MNA bargaining committee member Stacey McEachern, "The MNA has told management that we are willing to negotiate Sunday and Monday or any other time, as our goal here is to find a resolution to this crisis without a strike. "

The mediator called for talks following management's cancellation of bargaining previously scheduled for Sunday, April 7 and Monday, April 8.

According to Paula Ryan, RN, a 45-year nurse at the hospital and chair of the MNA/NNU local bargaining unit of the nurses, "We have told management that we are ready to bargain at any time.  We were disappointed that bargaining on Sunday and Monday was previously cancelled. For months, we have been trying to engage the company in a process to make things better for our patients. We hope they will take this opportunity on Monday to respond in a real back and forth to our concerns for the good of our patients and our community."

Background: After filing more than 150 reports of what RNs consider to be unsafe patient care and greater patient risk with the hope that hospital administrators would negotiate a safe staffing plan to rectify the situation, which they did not , 94% of the nurses voted in favor of the strike, with 90% of the Mass Nurses Association/National Nurses United members at the Hospital participating in the one-day secret ballot vote.

The long-standing patient safety concerns at the hospital turned into full blown crisis on February 17 when Cerberus-Steward, the for-profit owner of the hospital, shut down a 40-bed nursing unit. As a result, nurses report that as many as a dozen patients per day are being "boarded" in the hospital's emergency department (ED), sometimes for 24 hours or more under conditions the nurses consider to be unsafe. 

"The public needs to know how worried we are, that we've been telling management we don't consider this situation to be safe, and they have been refusing to discuss the staffing plan with us," said McEachern. "The patients who are being boarded in our ED have been admitted to the hospital, but are not receiving an appropriate level of care because they are being placed on stretchers in an emergency room, waiting for a bed on a medical floor that no longer is available to them. The bottom line is patients are being deprived of the services they need.  Management has told us that the hospital is trying to cut costs, and that their parent company, Cerberus, won't invest more money, and that it's their right to make these decisions"

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