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Tufts nurses resume work after strike, lockout

Updated:

BOSTON - Approximately 1,200 nurses who were locked out of Tufts Medical Center after holding a 1-day strike last week resumed work on Monday morning.

Representatives from Tufts and the Massachusetts Nurses Association had been negotiating on a new contract since last April and failed to come to an agreement.

A 1-day strike was held by nurses at the medical facility Wednesday and had planned to return to work Thursday but were locked out.

MORE: Tufts accuses nurses' union of attacking buses

Tufts said it had to bring in more than 300 temporary workers to compensate for the striking nurses.

"It is extremely unfortunate that the union has continued to hold out for more money and an ill-conceived pension plan, and has made good on its threat to harm our great Medical Center. But make no mistake, we will continue to provide exceptional patient care," Tufts Medical Center CEO Dr. Michael Wagner said in a statement.

Nurses have been picketing non-stop since walking off the job Wednesday morning and the being locked out until Monday morning.

The nurses are seeking more staffing so they can spend more time with patients, along with an increase in their salaries and enhancement of their pensions.

The union says Tufts nurses have the lowest pay and the worst pension in the city.

“We get gunshots, we get people falling from trees, getting hit by cars. We have to act in a moment’s notice. We don't have the staff,” OR nurse Eileen Agranat said.

Tufts said that at 6:30 a.m., hospital-owned garages were opened to nurses and at 7 a.m. their badges were re-activated.

The hospital said police had to be called after some of the protesters tried to block buses preparing to take replacement nurses from their hotel to the hospital.

The nurses union said it has no reports of that.

“The only thing we saw buses trying to run us over and didn’t stop,” Tufts RN Cathy McGreevey said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh encouraged both sides to return to the bargaining table.
That hasn’t been done since the talks broke down last week.