Nurses plan one-day strike against Baystate Franklin Medical Center

  • Recorder/Paul FranzBaystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 6/13/2017 4:13:38 PM

GREENFIELD — The nurses union announced Tuesday afternoon that it will strike June 26 against Baystate Franklin Medical Center because ongoing contract negotiations aren’t moving forward.

The strike will begin 6 a.m. on that Monday and will continue for 24 hours.

“We want to maintain the contract that we have. We want to improve the staffing language. We want to go back to a health insurance plan that we used to have, that other bargaining units within Baystate still have by the way,” local nurses union leader Donna Stern said Tuesday. “So we’re not asking for the world here.”

The two sides will come together for a negotiation session June 21 — five days before the planned strike.

At the most recent negotiation, the nurses put forward a counter proposal, Stern said, adding that the “ball is in their court” now.

“No nurse wants to go on strike, but if nurses are willing to go outside and go on strike, then there’s something really wrong going on in the inside,” Stern said.

If the nurses manage to come to an agreement with the hospital before the strike date, which was announced with more than the needed 10 days notice, then the action will not happen, Massachusetts Nurses Association spokesman David Schildmeier said Tuesday.

“Still open to negotiate between now and then,” Schildmeier said. “That’s our hope.”

Nurses’ demands have remained mostly steady. In a statement on the strike, the nurses ask for safer staffing, changes to their health insurance benefits and an end to what they consider forced overtime.

“I think it’s appalling that they won’t engage in any meaningful negotiation and basically this has left us with no choice,” Stern said.

If the nurses do strike, the hospital said it will remain open.

“Our priority is the welfare and safety of patients, and we will continue providing safe, quality, uninterrupted care to our community as we have for decades,” Baystate Franklin Medical Center President Cindy Russo said in a statement.

Russo’s statement said the hospital remains “committed to bargaining in good faith with the union to reach agreement — hopefully without the MNA leading nurses out on strike.”

Russo was unavailable for an interview.


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