BOSTON (CBS) – Significant progress has been made in the contract negotiations between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and nurses, who may hold a strike Monday if a deal can’t be reached.
The Massachusetts Nursing Association, which has been negotiating salaries, benefits and staffing levels for months, is looking to reach a deal with the Boston hospital. Otherwise, nurses will begin picketing on Monday morning.
Late Saturday night, MNA chairwoman Trish Powers said the parties reached an agreement on wages, but a patient safety issue remains under negotiation.
After failing to reach a deal Friday night, negotiations resumed Saturday at 9 a.m. and went late into the night. A federal mediator was called in to help with the negotiations.
Betsy Nabel of Brigham and Women’s Hospital says the hospital continues to negotiate “in good faith” with the union.
“I’m sincerely hopeful we will reach an agreement,” she added.
Powers says, “Nurses want to restore safe staffing for some of our sickest patients in the thoracic step-down unit.”
“We also want to protect patients from potentially harmful mobile alarm systems, such as the devices proposed for our NICU babies,” she added.
700 temporary nurses are on standby in case they need to fill in for more than 3,000 nurses who could strike.
Administrators say they are confident in training replacement nurses.
“I want to assure our patients and our families that we are providing the highest quality care consistent with the care that we provide to everyone day in and day out throughout our normal operations as well,” says Ron Wall of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith and Paul Burton contributed to this report.