Tufts nurse strike 'unfortunate and misguided,' says MHA CEO

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The 1,200 registered nurses at Tufts Medical Center are on strike until 6:59 a.m. Thursday in what their union said is the largest nurses' strike in MA history and the first in Boston in over 30 years.

The MNA called the strike historic, saying it is the first strike by nurses in Boston in over 30 years and the largest nurses' strike in MA history. "Traditionally we've caved", said Mary Havlicek Cornacchia.

Lynn Nicholas, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, said the strike was "unfortunate and misguided", adding that it "harms the best interests of everyone involved - patients, nurses and the hospital", according to a statement emailed to Becker's. "They've been planning [for] this strike". They're asking for more nurses, wage improvements, and pension protections for the nurses they represent at the hospital. "The plan is risky for the Medical Center and for nurses, not to mention much more expensive", Chief Nursing Officer Terry Hudson-Jinks said in a statement Wednesday.

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The sticking point, hospital officials say, has been the retirement plan. All other nurses, who in FY16 earned an average of $100,000, would have received a 5.5 percent raise plus their annual 5 percent step increases.

Tufts Medical Center has hired more than 300 replacements to work four days in addition to the day when nurses will strike.

Nurses say the hospital needs to adjust their priorities and put patients and staff first. "We have more than 320 experienced nurses here to care for patients", said Tufts Spokesperson Rhonda Mann.

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