Tufts nurses to be locked out when strike ends Thursday morning

Tufts nurses to be locked out when strike ends Thursday morning

The private hospitals in the state have made a decision to face the indefinite strike from Monday announced by nurses demanding hike in salary, by pulling down shutters of all private hospitals from the same day.

The 1,200 registered nurses at Tufts Medical Center are on strike until 6:59 a.m. Thursday in what their union said is the largest nurses' strike in MA history and the first in Boston in over 30 years.

The strike was only supposed to last 24 hours, but hospital officials announced that striking nurses would be locked out of the facility until at least Monday.

Rallies are planned outside the hospital at noon and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which said nurses scheduled to work "plan to enter Tufts to care for their patients" on Thursday morning despite the hospital's plans to lock out striking nurses for four days. In the meantime, the strike has cost Tufts about $6 million.

Tufts CEO Michael Wager told the Associated Press that that strike is "extremely disappointing".

Hospital adminstrators said the hospital has been functioning smoothly and without interruptions to patient care since the strike began. We have to act in a moment's notice.

The union says it is seeking increases in pay and staffing levels, but both sides deadlocked over another key issue: retirement benefits.

The hospital says there will be more than 320 experienced replacement nurses to care for patients on Wednesday.

The union says Tufts nurses have the lowest pay and the worst pension in the city. They send out blast text messages on a daily basis to try and fill holes, or nurses have to stay over time. More than 30 negotiation meetings have been held over the past 15 months and a federal mediator has joined discussions.