Another union has joined the fight for better wages and safety standards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445, which represents about 600 patient care assistants, technicians, clerks, housekeeping, and more at St. Vincent, picketed alongside striking nurses on Saturday, March 13, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported.
Local 1445 is not on strike, but its members have appeared alongside striking nurses outside the hospital.
The 800 protesting nurses at St. Vincent are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The nurses have been on strike for one week - having started on Monday, March 8, at 6 a.m.
Nurses have been negotiating with St. Vincent’s owners, Tenet Healthcare of Texas, for a better contract, but talks have broken down.
In past interviews, Tenet representatives have said that the nurses' protest is misleading and its contract proposal to the MNA includes "substantial" raises and is one of the best offers the hospital has made the union in 10 years.
Leaders for both the nurses and support staff represented by Local 1445 have said that employees are being assigned to take care of more patients than they can safely handle.
"We have 23 patients for one [personal care assistant] PCA, which is unheard of,” Local 1445 business agent Steven Lajoie told the Telegram & Gazette. “Typically, you have one PCA with seven, eight, at the most, 10 patients. A PCA with 23 patients, that is simply unsafe.”
Click here to follow Daily Voice Worcester and receive free news updates.