GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A union nurse who has worked at Baystate Franklin Medical Center for over 13 years told 22News that at 7:00pm Sunday evening, nurses were forced to sign out of their computers and were escorted out of the hospital by security.
Nurse Donna Stern told 22News they are overworked. She said, “Over the last year, we’ve been working almost 4000 hours beyond, 12-hour shifts, as an example, of there not being enough staff. They have violated the mandatory overtime over 20 times in the last year.”
Contract negotiations between the hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association have been ongoing since the fall, but hit a dead end Sunday evening, when nurses were allegedly removed from the building by security and replaced with temporary nurses for 72 hours.
President and CAO of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Cindy Russo, told 22News, “My responsibility here is to take care of the patients within this hospital. In order to do that, we needed to contract with an outside agency to be able to get nurses to best care for our patients. And there is a minimum requirement for that. So that’s why the three days.”
Nearly 60 temporary nurses replaced around 200 of the hospitals regular nurses, who are planning an official strike starting at 6:00am Monday morning.
Kristal Cleaver of Greenfield told 22News, “The work that the nurses do is undervalued and underpaid. I want to be a part of a community that supports a hospital that has safe practices and fair wages.”
According to Russo, nurses make around $80,000 a year.
According to union nurses, they want better insurance benefits and better staffing. Hospital officials told 22News, nurses are staffed and paid well.
Nurses will return back work Wednesday evening at 7:00pm for their regularly scheduled shift, as negotiations continue.