Timeline of nurse negotiations
October 2011: Baystate Franklin Medical Center and its nurses begin negotiating a new contract to succeed one that was to expire on Jan. 1, 2012.
March 17, 2012: The nurses union, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, occupy the four corners of the downtown Greenfield intersection to raise public awareness about the contract dispute. Nurses and hospital officials were then disagreeing about overtime pay structure, the ability to negotiate wages, sick time policy and health insurance.
Aug. 30, 2012: Nurses vote to authorize a strike against their hospital. Hospital president Chuck Gijanto responds, saying, “The demands of the union nurses are not consistent with fiscal realities we are facing.”
Sept. 20, 2012: Nurses schedule a 24-hour strike for the first week in October. The main sticking point is whether nurses should continue getting paid whenever they work overtime or only when they work more than 40 hours in a week.
Oct. 5, 2012: Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday, nurses strike for 24 hours.
March 6, 2013: Nurses organize a community forum, arguing that health services and procedures are shifting to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Gijanto says local services aren’t decreasing.
April 2013: The Massachusetts Nurses Association introduces a resolution that ultimately gets passed by about 10 Franklin County towns, asking Baystate Health to keep medical services local.
April 24, 2013: Nurses and hospital officials express optimism that a settlement could soon be reached through the formation of a task force that will work to eliminate the need for overtime.
June 2013: A state agency rules that hospitals, including Baystate Franklin Medical Center, have the authority to force its nurses to work overtime during special “emergency situations.” The state’s Health Policy Commission said that hospitals cannot use this power as a staffing mechanism and must first make a “good faith effort” to have overtime covered on a voluntary basis.
July 25, 2013: About 100 attend a union-organized “community rally” in front of the hospital.
Sept. 3, 2013: The union votes to take the contract dispute to an independent arbitrator, but the hospital says it’s not interested. Hospital officials ask that the union vote on an offer they made to nurses over the summer, where daily overtime will transition to a weekly model by December 2014.
Oct. 15, 2013: Nurses authorize a three-day strike against the hospital.
Jan. 21, 2014: The hospital declares an impasse, gives nurses wage increases and bonuses and begins a transition from daily overtime pay to weekly. “We believe that we’re hopelessly deadlocked on the issue of daily overtime,” said Gijanto.
Jan. 30, 2014: Outraged over the impasse action, nurses tell hospital officials they will strike for 24 hours, beginning at 7 a.m. on Feb. 10.
Feb. 7, 2014: An 11th-hour agreement, orchestrated by local legislators, is reached three days before the scheduled strike. The two sides compromise on the overtime issue.