Faced with a possible nurses strike, tough-talking Tufts Medical Center chief Ellen Zane is taking a page from President Reagan’s anti-union battle book, lining up hundreds of out-of-state replacements for anyone who might dare to go on strike in an increasingly bitter union-management fight.Zane's got them pegged. I hope she beefs up security.
On Thursday, Tufts’ 1,110 nurses will vote on whether to authorize a strike. Their contract expired in December.
Zane yesterday called the Massachusetts Nurses Association’s threat of a hospital strike “reprehensible.” MNA spokesman David Schildmeier shot back that Zane’s threat to use replacements is “obscene.”
Zane told the Herald she’s contacted out-of-state nurses and is prepared to spend up to $4 million hiring at least 200 to keep Tufts open during what she’s classifying as a “very, very likely” work stoppage over a dispute about how many patients each nurse serves. The union wants a limit of four per shift — a demand Zane said could cost another $33 million a year.
“I will never, ever agree to a nurse-staffing ratio,” said Zane, who has run the once-nearly bankrupt Chinatown medical center for seven years and will retire Sept. 30. “And I won’t put this hospital in a position of financial harm, so some union can get more members.”
The local union’s campaign is part of a broader push for nurse-to-patient limits by the year-old National Nurses Union, which the 23,000-member Massachusetts group helped create last year. Nurses in Massachusetts have spent 15 years trying, unsuccessfully, to enact nursing quotas. Only California has such a measure in place.Gee, they're expected to work hard for their average salary of $114,543 a year? Next thing you know six weeks vacation won't be enough. Judging by the mess California is in, we should be thankful they're the only ones with these rules in effect. But the unions don't care as long as they get theirs.
At Tufts, where a full-time nurse makes an average of $114,543 a year, a typical night shift can mean caring for seven patients.
Considering the humiliating defeat suffered by Wisconsin unions, the public isn't going to be very sympathetic to people making well into six figures walking out on sick patients. Do these people have no shame?
H/T Jules Crittenden.