After more than nine months, the nurse strike at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester is coming to an end.
The hospital announced Friday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which also confirmed the deal.
Once the agreement is ratified, the hospital said, striking nurses will return to their previous positions, and all permanent replacement nurses will be retained in their current positions.
"The new contract will provide enhancements for patients and our team, and we are glad to finally end the strike and put our sole focus back on patient care," Saint Vincent Hospital CEO Carolyn Jackson said in a statement. "We will be setting a new tone at Saint Vincent Hospital: We are one team with a common purpose. Not striking nurses versus replacement nurses. Not nurses versus management. One team united behind the principles of professionalism, excellence, accountability, and compassion."
The MNA said the agreement came at an in-person discussion mediated by U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Boston's former mayor.
"We are so grateful for and humbled by the efforts of Secretary Walsh today, and so pleased to have finally reached an agreement that we believe provides us with what we need to better care for our patients that we will now take to our members for a vote to ratify and thus call an end to our historic strike," Marlena Pellegrino, co-chair of the Saint Vincent Hospital nurses' local bargaining unit with the MNA, said in a statement.
Hundreds of Saint Vincent nurses walked off the job on March 8, citing unsafe conditions amid the pandemic and low nurse-to-patient ratios. Since then, the hospital hired more than 100 permanent replacement nurses and scaled back procedures this summer.
Officials at nearby UMass Memorial Medical Center also partly attributed an influx in patients to the situation at Saint Vincent Hospital.
In September, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty called on Saint Vincent's parent company, Texas-based Tenet Healthcare, to bring an end to the strike.