Brendan Fitzpatrick

December 21, 2023

City Council Calls On Tenet to Allow Union Hospital Vote, Appear in Framingham

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FRAMINGHAM - The Framingham City Council unanimously approved motions on Tuesday, December 19 that officially call upon Tenet Healthcare Corp.—the Texas-based company that manages MetroWest Medical Center and its subsidiary sites—to allow a vote among nurses to unionize at Framingham Union Hospital as well as to appear before city officials in January.

Complaints regarding the quality of care at Tenet’s sites have swirled in recent months. Hundreds of nurses at Framingham Union Hospital initially filed for a vote with the National Labor Relations Board back in September to join the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), the largest union representing registered nurses in the Bay State. Since then, MNA leadership have accused Tenet of delaying the union vote on purpose. Meanwhile, Framingham residents and healthcare professionals have raised concerns about declining services, including the closure of the therapy pools at the MetroWest Wellness Center on Route 9.

Many community members spoke on the Tenet topic during the City Council’s public participation portion, pleading with councilors to take action. One of the speakers was Tom Chaput, a registered nurse at MetroWest Medical Center since 1980 who now works within the operating room. He talked in detail about staffing shortages that have hindered local care, which he attributes to a drop in resources, pay, and benefits.

“This community is growing,” Chaput told the City Council.

“You can tell by the apartment buildings that are going up all around. People are coming in, businesses are coming in, and the hospital seems to be shrinking.”

Former At-Large City Councilor and former Chair of the Framingham Board of Selectmen Cheryl Tully Stoll requested the meeting with Tenet officials based out of Texas to address these worries raised by the community, a similar measure to what was approved by the Council on Aging in November when they moved to invite the CEO of MetroWest Medical Center John Whitlock to a public hearing.

“This isn’t something that is necessarily a done deal going in the wrong direction,” Tully Stoll continued, “but it’s going to take some seismic change in how we deal with the hospital as a community and as a state to possibly get something moving that works for them and works for the people who live here.”

While the matter was not specifically on the agenda, the City Council voted 11-0 to write two letters: one will demand that Tenet permit an election for Framingham Union Hospital nurses to join the MNA immediately, while another will move towards hosting Tenet leadership partake in a City Council meeting next month.

As of the time of publication, Tenet media officials have not responded to The Frame’s request for comment.

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