Tufts Nurses Strike Is Now A Lockout

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Private hospitals in the State have chose to shut down from Monday to deal with the statewide agitation taken out by nurses demanding salary hike.

Tufts spokesperson Rhonda Mann called the nurses' attempt to return to work Thursday "a stunt orchestrated for the media" in a statement obtained by The Boston Globe.

The union said that Tufts needs to start putting its patients and staff first, claiming they are the lowest-paid nurses with the worst pensions in the city.

The association said the Tufts had contracted and trained replacement nurses to ensure that patient care continued.

The nurses say they are fighting for fair retirement benefits, competitive wages and safer patient care concerning staffing levels and time spent with patients.

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The indefinite strike announced by nurses in the private health sector from Monday, at the height of the on-going fever epidemic in the State, could cripple health care services and put the public to enormous difficulties. "Hence, there will definitely be escalation in the treatment cost", said Dr M I Sahadulla and Dr A Marthanda Pillai, president and vice-president of the state unit of Association of Healthcare Providers India.

Officials said at the news conference that the crux of the issue is the nurses' pension and noted to reporters that the hospital is facing financial constraints.

Tufts said it's using 320 replacement nurses, working 12-hour shifts, to maintain normal operations. "We have already shut emergency rooms as all of them are full", Shadulla, Chairman of KIMS Hospital, said.

The nurses are hoping for a resolution within the next few days. With the nurses' protest for a wage hike set to intensify, hospital managements have made a decision to drastically limit their operations from next week. We communicated this to our nurses through emails, meetings and letters sent to their homes.

Bob Kilroy, of Dedham, has a 56-year-old daughter in critical condition following a transplant surgery and said he backed the nurses who went on strike.

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