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Nurses at short end of the stick

Nurses are protesting safety measures for patients being overlooked and sick time being questioned or cut by executives at the Cambridge Health Alliance are locked in a difficult battle.

The Cambridge Health Alliance is Goliath.

The nurses and health professionals having to beg are like David.

In the biblical parable of David versus Goliath, David slew Goliath against all odds.

This ongoing battle between nurses at the former Whidden Hospital and two others in the area are pitted against their masters, the big feeling executives at the CHA.

Once celebrated by those executives as the nation’s front line of medical first responders against the COVID pandemic during the past year, the nurses have been relegated to a secondary position now that the crisis has passed.

Their contract negotiations are stuck, with the CHA holding back at a time when generosity should be the word and action of the day.

‘We’ve gone from heroes to zeros,” said a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Its president receives $750,000 a year.

Most of its department heads and chief executives receive salaries over $200,000.

he CHA Cambridge Hospital alone takes in well over $1.2 billion in a year and services tens of thousands of patients.

Exact financial statistics are not available for the smaller operations, of which CHA Everett is one, Somerville another, and Cambridge.

However, registered nurses receive about $80,000 a year at the above facilities. Licensed practical nurses receive about $56,000 a year.

We feel for the nursing professionals being taken for granted now that the crisis has passed, and a sense of normalcy has returned to the operation of CHA’s hospitals.

What is not appreciated is the short memory higher-ups are revealing.

Cutting or limiting nurses’ sick days given the harsh realities of the past crisis should be an embarrassment to the executives at the CHA.

But it isn’t.

Shortchanging nurses by failing to advance better services for those who come to the hospital is another embarrassment.

We urge the CHA to sit down at the table and work out a fair and just contract for the nurses who so selflessly worked through this virus crisis.

They put themselves at risk.

Now they should be rewarded, not penalized.

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