By Ariel Banks
Dragging the negotiations on by giving little more than crumbs, Tenet’s likely strategy of waiting out the nurses pandemic unemployment might be backfiring…and not just for Tenet.
On the Battleground in Worcester, MA
Back to back talks occurred last Thursday and Friday between the nurses, MNA and Tenet. The first of which, saw workers descending from the meeting with a firm thumbs down; the latter conference however, proved a little more hopeful. As one nurse I spoke with put it:
“From what I understood, (the negotiating committee) did say there was a few small steps made. I think that now that they’re actually face to face, I’m hopeful—and I think a lot of people are hopeful. Now that everyone is willing to come together in the same room, there’s going to be little bits that can be chipped away at, that [MNA and Tenet] can agree upon.”
— Trish Wilmot, RN
To aid in combating everyone’s tense nerves, DSA decided to spice things up with an energizing salsa lesson, by Lumyr Derisier, for nurses and comrades on the Friday night picket line. After mamba’ing off any bad juju, everyone gathered to delight in a smorgasbord of ice cream options and toast the night off with us all a slick step closer to our goal.
On the Other Side of the Nation
In Southern California, various departments of unionized healthcare workers representing three Tenet-owned hospitals have voted to authorize a strike against Tenet Healthcare for all-too-familiar reasons. It’s currently uncertain if and when this will go through, but could happen as soon as August. California based Tenet workers were a solid help to the cause earlier this month when they joined our nurses in Dallas to plead the case for ‘patient safety over profits’. We’re keeping our eyes on this and will update you as things further develop.
In Another Unraveling Healthcare Scene
With help from the MNA, Boston VNA workers just formally initiated a week-long strike against their employer for—once again, putting profits over patient safety and working their staff into a skeleton crew. Updates to contracts sought by VNA were to cut the already inadequate employee benefits.
Interesting tidbit, VNA care facilities are a subsidiary of Atrius Health…who just so happens to be in the midst of an ethically contested merger with Optum. It’s crucial for this fight to happen now before the merger finishes, which would give VNA and Atrius Health heavier resources to bust workers’ efforts. The picket line will last through August 1st and take place at the BVNA’s office located at 150 Mt. Vernon street, for comrades who would like to assist in the struggle.
The fight continues!
Ariel Banks is Secretary of Worcester’s DSA chapter.