Friday October 5, 2012

GREENFIELD, MASS. -- The 209 nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center will conduct a one-day strike today after a negotiating session held Oct. 3 broke down without a settlement.

Nurses have called for the strike in response to Baystate Health System’s unfair labor practices, as well as to their demands for unreasonable concessions from the nurses, including proposals that will strip them of key union rights, will increase the dangerous use of overtime to staff the hospital and will discipline nurses for using legitimate sick time, thus forcing them to care for patients when they are ill.

"Baystate has taken some very radical positions that would be harmful to quality patient care and they continue to demand concessions from the nurses that would cost the nurses thousands of dollars and deeply cut into their ability to negotiate over wages and health insurance. In order to protect the quality of our patient care and the integrity of our union contract we had to call a strike," said Donna Stern, RN and co-chair of the bargaining committee.

"In the last 10 years I have seen Baystate come into our community hospital and try to strip us of any caring and humanity," said Linda Judd, RN, who has worked at Baystate Franklin Medical Center for more than 30 years and is co-chair of the bargaining committee. "They have little concern for the Franklin County area."

Nurses will gather outside Baystate Franklin Medical Center to conduct strike picketing at 164 High Street, starting at 7 a.m. They will picket for 24 hours and will be prepared to re-enter the hospital on Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. to resume care of patients.