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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, Mass., April 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 last night 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.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20060525/NETH016LOGO )

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. 

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