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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Nurses at UMass Memorial Medical Center are voting Thursday on whether to authorize a one-day strike in their contract dispute.
Nurses are saying that staffing levels are dangerous, and, although they don’t want to strike, they’ll do what they have to do to protect their patients.
Registered nurse Colleen Wolfe says it is absolutely dangerous and unacceptable.
“Patients are suffering because of it. There’s no question about that.”
Wolfe says staffing levels at the campuses of UMass Memorial Medical Center are unsafe.
“Staffing is just absolutely deplorable.”
She says there has been little to no progress to improve the staffing levels in contract negotiations with management over the past year.
In response, more than 2000 nurses from the Massachusetts Nurses Association voted Thursday to authorize a one-day strike.
Registered nurse Ellen Smith says it’s very hard because no one wants to go out and strike but someone has to stand up for the patients.
A statement from UMass Memorial Medical Center was released on Tuesday regarding Thursday’s vote:
“We are very disappointed to learn that the M.N.A. has scheduled a strike authorization vote that they have issued a press release with inaccurate and misleading statements. We are committed to maintaining appropriate staffing levels at the Medical Center to provide the high level of care our patients expect and deserve.”
Still, nurses say that staffing levels continue to be dangerous. Both Smith and Wolfe say they don’t want to strike but they’ll do what they have to do.
A yes or no vote will be determined by 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. If they authorize a strike, they have to give UMass Memorial a 10-day notice.