When 1,200 nurses at Tufts Medical Center in Boston staged a one-day strike July 12, Tufts administrators hired replacement nurses who ended up working for five days after the medical center locked out the striking nurses for four days following the strike.
Tufts' hiring of the replacement nurses alarmed the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), which said in a release that the action endangered patients because the replacements were not familiar with the medical center and did not have the level of specialization that the Tufts nurses had.
The MNA release cited a 2010 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found “hiring replacement workers apparently does not help: hospitals that hired replacement workers performed no better during strikes than those that did not hire substitute employees. In each case, patients with conditions that required intensive nursing were more likely to fare worse in the presence of nurses' strikes.”
The release went on to say that when Massachusetts Nurses Association nurses went on strike at Worcester's St. Vincent Hospital in 2000, three of the nurses who took the place of the regular nurses got fired because they did not attend to a patient after surgery and gave a nursing mother the wrong baby, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and WCVB.
The release also cited a case in fall 2016 when over 4,000 nurses at Allina Health in Minneapolis went on strike. While they were striking, Allina Health hired over 1,500 nurses in their place. While the regular Allina Health nurses were striking, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that the Minnesota Nurses Association filed over 80 reports from patients and their families alleging medical errors, people falling and other patient care mistakes with the state.