289 nurses were to be affected with an approximate 40% reduction in their retirement money and they are long time employees. The hospital group lost more than 7 million in the last year, so I guess nobody is paying attention that hospitals need money to stay in business and all the recent mergers and acquisitions tell the tale. Further cuts in Medicaid are also staring the hospital in face too that are up and coming. Last week before another hospital could be bought by investors in Massachusetts, they had to file bankruptcy to wipe the debt and that will leave insurers and physicians group out of luck for some of the money owed. The only other alternative was to not be bought and have to close.
Cambridge Health Alliance is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate hospital as well. Again the balance of investors, hospital expenses and the world we live in today just don’t seem to match up. BD
Cambridge Health Alliance, which has cut more than 600 jobs over the past three years through layoffs and attrition, now has just under 3,000 employees at its three locations. It is set to disclose today that it will reduce hours for about 18 employees -- a cost-cutting measure put in place before the court ruling.
That decision stated that Cambridge Health Alliance must “pay to all retired nurses who are also members of the Cambridge Retirement System the same health insurance contribution rate as the City of Cambridge pays its retired employees.”
Hospital management had told the nurses’ union negotiators that they needed to reduce retiree health benefits because of an accounting change that would increase the hospital system’s costs by about $30 million over the next three years. The proposed cut prompted the union to reject a “last and final” contract offer last summer.
When the hospital group declared a negotiating impasse and sought to put the contract into effect despite the union’s objection, the union filed an unfair labor practices charge. An investigator for the state Division of Labor Relations then ruled that Cambridge Health Alliance “failed to bargain in good faith” with the nurses association.