Nurses at Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert threaten 3-day strike | News

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BEVERLY — Registered nurses at Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester have threatened to go on a three-day strike over contract negotiations with parent company Beth Israel Lahey Health.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association announced Thursday nurses in Beverly and Gloucester voted to authorize their negotiating committee to call a strike “when they feel it is necessary.”

The nurses have criticized Beth Israel Lahey Health for what they say are low wages and working conditions that are causing nurses to leave. The union said the hospitals in Beverly and Gloucester as well as the Lahey Outpatient Center in Danvers, known collectively as Northeast Hospital Corp., have lost more than 320 nurses over the last two years, including more than 100 in the last six months.

“The devastation of seeing our community suffer is unifying the nurses at Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital,” Beverly Hospital Registered Nurse Arianna Marquis said in a press release.

The union says Northeast Hospital Corp. nurses are among the lowest paid in the region while the company is among the most profitable hospital systems in the state. Northeast nurses are paid 11% to 16% less than nurses at other hospitals within 30 miles that are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, despite the fact that Northeast’s profit margin of 12.8% is more than five times the state average, according to the union.

The union also criticized hospital administrators for forcing nurses to work overtime, which it says is more likely to lead to errors in patient care.

In a statement, Kim Perryman, chief nursing officer at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals, said the hospitals have proposed “significant wage increases” that are consistent with market rates at other community hospitals in the region. A spokesperson for Northeast said the proposal would increase wages between 19% and 32% over the three-year life of the contract.

Perryman said the hospitals have also proposed decreased medical insurance premiums for nurses.

“We are disappointed that the MNA chose to move forward with a strike authorization vote, distracting time and energy away from efforts to reach resolution and continue to provide quality care to the community we serve,” Perryman said.

If the negotiating committee does call for a strike, the hospitals would have 10 days before the nurses would go on strike, the union said.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Staff Writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at pleighton@salemnews.com, or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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