Latest news on the Brockton,MA strike

  1. Brockton Hospital RNs Begin Picketing/Leafleting Board of Trustees Ask
    Community to Hold Trustees Accountable for Damage Done by Strike As
    Management Refuses to Seriously Negotiate to End 9-Week Strike

    Nurses Cite Millions Being Wasted to Prolong a Strike over Patient Care Call
    Upon Trustees to Honor Fiduciary Responsibility to Hospital & Community

    Attention News Assignment Editors: Nurses Will Picket Two Locations of
    Brockton Credit Union (443 Belmont St. and 68 Legion Parkway), Where
    Brockton Hospital Trustee James W. Blake is the CEO at 3 p.m. today.

    Nurses will also be picketing the home of Brockton Hospital CEO Norman
    Goodman (25 Jyra Lane, N. Easton) at 5:30 p.m. today.

    BROCKTON, Mass.-As the Brockton Hospital nurses enter the ninth week of
    their strike, they have begun picketing and leafleting activity outside the businesses
    of the hospital's Board of Trustees, selecting a different trustee each day. The
    nurses are using the picketing to generate public pressure on the trustees to take
    greater responsibility for the strike and its long-term impact on the future of the
    not-for-profit community hospital. The nurses are hoping to convince the trustees to
    do what is necessary to convince hospital management to engage in serious
    negotiations to reach a fair settlement end the 57-day old strike.

    The nurses went on strike on May 25th over their concerns about poor staffing,
    mandatory overtime and salary. Since the strike began, only two negotiating
    sessions have been held, with no movement made by management to settle the
    strike made at either session. The Federal Mediator has scheduled a third round of
    negotiations in his office in Boston for Thursday, July 26, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.

    "It is clear that management has had no real interest in settling this contract and
    ending this strike and will spend millions of the community's dollars to break the
    nurses' union," said Linda McMahon, chair of the nurses' bargaining unit, which is
    represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. "The Board of Trustees has
    ultimate oversight authority for this hospital and is sitting by while management
    wastes millions of dollars and threatens the very future of this once premier health
    care facility. We had been hoping the Board would intercede by now. Nurses and
    community members have been writing the board to ask them to do something for
    weeks now, and it appears they are supporting the hospital's actions. We want to
    remind them that they can't hide from their responsibility."

    In flyers to be handed out at each picketing of the trustees, the nurses point to
    exorbitant cost of the hospital's continuation of the strike. The cost includes more
    than $1 million per week the hospital is spending to hire replacement nurses flown
    in by U.S. Nursing Corps of Denver Colorado. The striking nurses have obtained a
    copy of a pay stub for one of the 200 nurses the hospital has hired, which reveals
    that the nurses are paid upwards of $4,600 per week for their services, not
    including room, board and travel expenses paid by the hospital. The nurses are
    paid $40 per hour for the first 40 hours they work, and $60 per hour for every
    hour of overtime. The pay stub obtained by the Brockton nurses shows this one
    nurse worked 84 hours in one week.

    The nurses have also obtained information on the cost of the hospital's maintaining a
    24-hour police detail outside the hospital. For the month of June, the bill for police
    was $480,000 for an average of $120,000 per week. The hospital also employees
    more than 30 Pinkerton security guards. The nurses have also learned that the
    hospital had hired massage therapists to give massages to the replacement nurses,
    paying the massage therapists more than $35 per hour for their services. The
    highest paid Brockton nurse before the strike was making just over $30 per hour.

    The nurses' flyer asks community members a number of questions concerning the
    sources of funding for the continuation of the strike. For example: Is the hospital
    using Medicare and Medicaid funds to pay for the strike? Is the hospital's
    endowment being used? What will be left of this hospital when this strike finally
    comes to end?

    The nurses are not alone in their desire for a resolution to the strike. Two weeks
    ago, Massachusetts Senators John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy sent a letter
    to CEO Norman Goodman and the Board of Trustees asking hospital management
    to take the responsibility. On July 17th, 750 citizens and nurses gathered for a
    Candlelight Prayer Vigil hosted by the Brockton Clergy Association, which was
    held to urge a just resolution to the strike. The hospital administration and trustees
    were invited to participate, but chose not to.
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