BOSTON (CBS) — Brigham and Women’s nurses cheered as they streamed in to the hospital entrance Monday morning, holding a celebratory “walk-in” after weeks of planning to walk out.
After 10 months and 23 negotiating sessions, the Massachusetts Nursing Association and hospital management reached a tentative contract agreement early Sunday morning, bringing plans for a one-day nurses’ strike that was scheduled for Monday to a halt.
The agreement, which includes pay increases, more staffing, and increased security measures at the hospital, still needs to be voted on by the 3,300 union nurses at the hospital.
“We will go forward together as a team, caring for our patients as one team, highly collaborative, working side by side together,” said president of Brigham and Women’s Health Care Dr. Elizabeth Nabel.
Monday morning, the nurses gathered outside the hospital, some holding signs, like one that read “unity is power.” Trish Powers, a nurse and chair of the bargaining unit, led fellow nurses into the hospital.
Powers said they were able to succeed by sticking together throughout the process.
“We won for the patients, we won for nurses as a profession,” said Powers. “We fought the corporation, and I think that sends a message to the little guy. You know what, if you stick together, you can win.”
“We feel that we have got the Brigham back, and that’s what this is about,” she added.
Both sides say they are happy with the tentative agreement. Leaders from the hospital will hold a press conference at noon Monday with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, President of Brigham and Women’s Health Care, said was instrumental in making the deal go through.
“This agreement would not have been reached without the tremendous commitment of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh,” Dr. Nabel said in a statement Sunday.
At the press conference, Walsh and hospital administrators plan to discuss the hospital’s operations, as well as the resolution of the nurses’ contract negotiations, while the hospital holds a picnic at Stoneman Centennial Park on Francis Street for all staff.
The strike that was planned would have been the largest in the state’s history, and the first such strike in the city in 30 years. The hospital, which had planned for downsizing ahead of the planned strike, is working to resume normal operations.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports