In March, hundreds of nurses at St. Vincent’s hospital in Massachusetts went on strike. Seven long months later, the strike is still on. The nurses’ demands are all too familiar: like hospitals all over the country, St. Vincent is understaffed, with outrageous staffing ratios that place both workers and patients in danger. In addition, nurses are striking against the terrible Covid-19 safety protocols at the hospital and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The bosses at the hospital have been trying to end the strike, offering some concessions. However, the proposed agreement included punitive measures against the strikers and so the workers rightly refused to take it, leading bosses to declare an “impasse.” Undeterred, the nurses continue the strike, heroically fighting for their safety as well as the safety of their patients.
This strike is currently the longest nurses strike in Massachussetts history and, according to the union bureaucracy, the longest active picket in the U.S. in 15 years. In many ways, this St. Vincent strike was the prologue to what some are calling “Striketober.” Across the country and across industries, workers are beginning to flex their muscles. From Kellogs to IATSE to John Deere, workers are walking off the job to demand more for themselves and their families. These strikes should fill all of us with a fighting spirit. We can beat the bosses if we fight together.
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We must support the nurses strike at St. Vincent because this fight has the potential to spread to hospitals across the country where nurses and other healthcare workers are still being forced to work in extremely unsafe conditions. These are the workers who fought the pandemic and are still fighting as the bosses and the state rush to reopen the economy, leading to spikes in death and infection rates. The nurses at St Vincent should stay on strike until their demands are met.
Solidarity with the nurses! Strike for better conditions and safety measures!