Business & Tech

Tufts Medical Center, nurses fail to reach contract deal

The Massachusetts Nurses Association and Tufts Medical Center spent 21 hours in talks this week.
David L Ryan/Globe Staff/File 2016
The Massachusetts Nurses Association and Tufts Medical Center spent 21 hours in talks this week.

Two days of talks between Tufts Medical Center and the union representing 1,200 of its nurses failed to result in a contract deal this week, and the union is continuing to prepare for a potential strike.

Both sides said they are willing to return to the bargaining table, but they have yet to schedule another meeting.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association has not set a date for the strike. It must give at least 10 days’ notice.

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Union officials are planning a one-day walkout, but Tufts executives said they would not let striking nurses return for an additional four days while they employ temporary replacement nurses.

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The union and the hospital spent 21 hours in talks this week. They made progress Monday, only to see it “fall apart” Tuesday, said Mary Cornacchia, a Tufts nurse who cochairs the union’s bargaining unit.

“We’re willing to go to the table. We’re also willing to move forward with our plan for a one-day strike,” Cornacchia said.

The union and the hospital are at odds on nurse staffing levels, wages, and retirement benefits, among other issues. Last week, union members rejected a contract offer from the hospital.

“We are completely perplexed and greatly concerned by the union’s push for a strike,” Tufts spokeswoman Brooke Hynes said in a statement. “We made significant movement this week to our proposal at the request of the MNA committee. We remain willing to meet and work toward a mutually beneficial solution.”

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.