SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 28, 2014

Nurses picket North Shore Medical Center

BY TOM DALTON
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — In the midst of stalled contract talks, nurses at North Shore Medical Center held an informational picket yesterday in front of the Highland Avenue hospital.

This is the first time the nurses have picketed in more than a decade, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, which represents the estimated 600 registered nurses at Salem Hospital.

The union said that contract talks have stalled over a plan by Partners HealthCare, the parent company, to increase the “floating,” or shifting, of nurses to different departments to cover staffing shortages, and a proposed “50 percent cut to the nurses’ annual salary scale.”

“The NSMC nurses are outraged by the hospital’s lack of effort to negotiate a fair settlement with the nurses in light of the fact that Partners Healthcare is the most profitable health care system in the state, if not all of New England, having generated more than $9 billion in revenues and having posted profits of more than $352 million,” the union said in a statement.

A spokesman for the medical center said they are not proposing any changes to the “floating guidelines” and are proposing a 2 percent annual wage increase for nurses, no matter where they are on the wage scale, which is the same percent increase being given to non-nursing staff.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.