GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center are on strike Monday morning, after failed contract negotiations with the hospital.
The nurses, all a part of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, say they want better insurance benefits and more staff.
“This one-day strike is about protecting our patients and allowing nurses to live healthy, quality lives,” said Donna Stern, co-chair of the nurses bargaining unit, in a release sent to 22News. “We have worked hard for months to reach an agreement with local management that properly values and respects nurses, patients and our community. Unfortunately, it is clear that decision-makers in Springfield are unwilling to bargain in good faith on issues like nurse workload and health insurance.”
The union and the hospital failed to reach an agreement late Friday night, so the strike is going on as planned.
The hospital says the strike is illegal and that’s why they are locking the nurses out for an additional 48 hours. The lockout came as a surprise to the nurses last week.They were forced to leave at 7:00 p.m. Sunday and won’t be allowed back in until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.
The union represents 200 nurses, but not all of them are on strike. Those not on strike, however, are still not allowed into work until Wednesday night. Nearly 60 temporary nurses have replaced the hospital’s 200 nurses.
The hospital sent 22News a release Friday saying they and the union are still far apart on key issues.
“We presented the MNA with a comprehensive proposal and were prepared to negotiate as long as it would take to come to terms” said Cindy Russo, Baystate Franklin’s President said in the release. “It is so disturbing that the MNA’s bargaining committee ended negotiations, unwilling to continue discussions today and unwilling to agree to the next bargaining date.”