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Nurses’ Strike Hits in Mass.

April 1, 2000

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) _ A nurse’s strike on Saturday forced a hospital to postpone its long-planned move to a multimillion-dollar new facility.

Dozens of nurses picketed for a second day and St. Vincent Hospital officials said it was too difficult to go ahead with the move during the chaos of the walkout.

Hospital spokeswoman Paula Green said the move would be made soon.

The nurses have been negotiating a new contract for more than two years. They reached agreement on 3.5 percent annual raises.

However, a final round of talks broke down Wednesday over mandatory overtime.

``We don’t want tired nurses caring for critically ill patients, because it’s a dangerous situation,″ said nurse Susan Troccolo, 37, of Shrewsbury.

The hospital’s owner, Tenet Healthcare System, the nation’s second-largest health care services chain with 122 hospitals, bought the once Roman Catholic hospital in 1997.

The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based group reported a 23 percent increase in profits for the quarter ending Feb. 29, compared to the same period last year. Tenet attributed the increase in part to declining labor costs and an increase in patient admissions.

There were 150 patients in the hospital Saturday. State health regulators said patient care was proceeding normally.

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On the Net:

Massachusetts Nursing Association site: http://www.massnurses.org

Saint Vincent Hospital: http://www.tenethealth.com/SaintVincent

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