Baystate nurses closer to strike

Declared impasse in contract negotiations

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Unionized nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center may be heading for a strike.  200 unionized nurses work at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield.

Union Reps told 22News they were shocked Tuesday, when Baystate declared an impasse in contract negotiations.

Baystate told 22News that after 28 months and 42 bargaining sessions they felt no agreement would be reached.

Both sides acknowledge that the sticking point is overtime pay, but Baystate told 22News that some financial sacrifices have to be made.

“They’re disregarding anything to do with the old contract, which includes paying us daily overtime. That is the disincentive to keep us their beyond our shift. It’s very unsafe to have nurses that have been there for 12, 13, 14 15 hours,” said Donna Stern, Co-chair Bargaining Unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

“They would prefer to have that daily overtime and we understand that issue. But as reimbursements have shrunk, healthcare has changed with more business leaving the in-patient and going to the out-patient environment, and dollars continue to shrink,” said Chuck Gijanto, President of Baystate Regional Markets.

The nurses union told 22News they want to go to arbitration.  Baystate wants the nurses to be able to vote on a contract.  The nurses intend to file a formal complaint and will be discussing the possibility of a strike.

Baystate says nurses will be getting raises during the impasse.  They say they have a contingency plan if a strike does happen.