UMass Medical nurses authorize strike

Updated:

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Nurses at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester have authorized union leaders to schedule a one-day strike.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says 83 percent of the nurses who participated in the secret ballot vote Thursday supported the measure. The result gives union leadership approval to call a strike at a future date if they feel it's necessary. The union represents 2,000 nurses at UMass Memorial.

The nurses are in contract negotiations over staffing levels and benefits. Negotiations have been going on for longer than a year.

The nurses contend layoffs over the past two years put patient care in jeopardy.

Hospital management says it was "disappointed" in the vote results.

Management says it is committed to maintaining appropriate staffing levels, and it disagrees with the union's mandatory staffing ratio proposal.