By Staff

WORCESTER (CBS) – A state court has ruled striking nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester no longer qualify for unemployment.

Those who received benefits past August 7 will have to return the money.

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“For most nurses, their access to unemployment was close to its conclusion anyway, so this will have no impact on the strike or the nurses resolve to maintain the strike to ensure a fair settlement that ensures the safety of their patients, resolves the retaliatory issues underpinning a number of unfair labor practices by Tenet throughout the strike, and guarantees these experienced nurses can return to their original positions,” the Massachusetts Nurses Association said in a statement.

The nurses walked off the job in March, demanding better staffing.

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The union is appealing the decision, saying nurses won’t have to return any wages while the issue is under litigation.

The nurses say they will not return to work until Tenet Healthcare agrees to let all nurses return to their original positions.

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“Given the need to expand services and return to full operational status, we believe there is a need for every nurse, regardless of their status, to be employed at Saint Vincent with an excellent package of pay and benefits,” St. Vincent Hospital said in a statement. Staff