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Nurses push to prevent assault in healthcare

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Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) were back on the job Monday at Tufts Medical Center in Boston after a one-day strike and four-day lockout ended.

Last Wednesday, 1,200 MNA members employed at Tufts went on a one-day strike after contract negotiations stalled. The nurses, who sought higher pay and improved pensions, also cited safety concerns over Tufts’ staffing practices. The union said nurses have been assigned too many patients at once, with a management taking a “bare-bones approach” to staffing.

Staff nurses tried to return to work on Thursday, but were barred from doing so as Tufts brought in 320 replacements on five-day contracts. Approximately 300 of the striking nurses returned Monday, with the rest planned to return over the next several days, the Boston Globe reported.

Negotiations are expected to resume, but officials have not said when, according to the Globe.

The situation grew heated Sunday when some protesters allegedly confronted replacement nurses and blocked buses that were to transport them to the hospital, a Tufts spokeswoman said. She added that strike supporters banged on the buses, threw coffee, and yelled profanities at the replacements, but the MNA said it was unaware of the incident until it was reported.

The strike was the first by nurses at a Boston hospital since 1986.