Union Advocacy for Health & Safety

Greenfield City Councilors Will Travel to Springfield on Wednesday to Demand Action from CEO and Trustees on BFMC Patient Care and a Fair Contract


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Speaking up about community concerns, members of the Greenfield City Council will visit Baystate Health CEO Dr. Mark Keroack in Springfield on Wednesday, Feb. 21 before going to see Ed Noonan, a member of the Baystate Health Board of Trustees.



BFMC touts that it is a “Top 100” rural and community hospital based on its 2017 iVantage Health Analytics score. Except BFMC actually received NEGATIVE scores for patient outcomes from iVantage last year. Scores that helped place BFMC in the top 100 were about its “market share” and “financial stability.”


iVantage gave BFMC a 12.5 out of 100 on patient care quality, a 38.5 out of 100 on patient outcomes and a 10.1 out of 100 on patient perspectives. This makes sense when you consider the federal government penalized BFMC last year because of its patient outcome data. Nurses have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Right now they are trying to protect and improve patient care at BFMC.


Springfield Action

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 21

Time: Starting at 3 p.m.

Location: Starting at Baystate Health HQ at 280 Chestnut St. in Springfield and then traveling to see Trustee Ed Noonan at Noonan Energy at 86 Robbins Rd. in Springfield.

“Baystate will not agree to common-sense solutions to protect and improve patient care, is refusing to negotiate with nurses ahead of our one-day strike and has rebuffed Congressman Jim McGovern’s offer to help us reach resolution. They even cancelled one session on February 26 that they had offered before the strike date,” said Donna Stern, RN and Senior Co-Chair of the BFMC MNA Bargaining Committee. “Baystate’s failure to act in good faith is undermining its credibility with elected officials and our community.

“Baystate’s executives are overseen by a board of trustees that has a responsibility to protect public resources. Baystate appears poised to waste public money on a second one-day strike that Baystate could avert by negotiating in good faith about patient care conditions, nurse staffing and health insurance. Hospital executives have told us they know there is a problem with how nurses are staffed, affecting patient care, but refuse to do anything about it. Instead, Baystate jeopardizes access to essential services in Greenfield by not having enough staff available, refuses to offer nurses decent health care and is preparing to spend public dollars to retaliate against nursing advocating for their community.”

Data provided to the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) show that 69% of BFMC’s revenues come from public taxpayer sources – Medicare and Medicaid (Source: http://www.chiamass.gov/assets/docs/r/hospital-profiles/2016/franklin.pdf).

BFMC nurses gave the hospital a 10-day notice for a one-day strike on February 28, providing more than the notice time required under federal law. The strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. and last 24 hours. On February 8, BFMC nurses voted by 85% to authorize a potential one-day strike. Nurses are seeking prompt bargaining dates. So far hospital executives have refused to give prompt dates and have rebuffed the offer of U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-MA, to host negotiations. Yesterday, Baystate announced that they would begin a lockout of all nurses on February 27, the day before the strike.

  • Baystate refuses to improve patient care conditions
  • Baystate wants the right to make nurse staffing worse
  • Baystate wants to force its nurses to take terrible health insurance from Baystate’s own insurance company, Health New England


Why Inadequate RN Staffing is a Patient Care Problem:

  • By failing to schedule enough nurses or forcing nurses to work through our meal breaks and routinely past the end of our shifts, Baystate is making it more and more difficult for exhausted, overworked nurses to provide the best care for our patients.


  • Nurses worked, were pressured or forced to work 3,980 shifts of 12 hours or more in one year. National best practices say nurses SHOULD NOT work more than 12 hours.

Safe Patient Care Solutions

  • Nurses are seeking specific staffing improvements in specific hospital units, along with the proposal that charge nurses not be required to take a patient assignment. This is tied to a proposal that management hire the nurses it needs to staff its staffing grids and not worsen staffing by assigning even more patients to all other nurses.


  • Charge nurses need to be able to effectively coordinate care and assist other nurses. If their patient assignments are eliminated or reduced but their fellow nurses have even heavier patient assignments, the problems nurses have identified for years will worsen.

Decent Health Insurance

  • Mid-contract, BFMC management took away the only two decent health plans offered to nurses: Gold and Silver. Nurses are just asking them to bring back a decent health plan.


  • Baystate Health owns Health New England and Baystate President & CEO Dr. Mark Keroack is also CEO of the health plan. Baystate is self-insured, meaning that the health insurance the nurses get is not from an outside provider that sets the cost. Rather the cost is set by Baystate/Health New England and any additional cost to the nurses means more money for Baystate/Health New England.


  • In addition, Baystate agreed to provide Noble Hospital nurses the Silver plan when they settled in November 2017.


  • Baystate is advertising that the people of the Pioneer Valley and Springfield areas should come to them for care, while being unable to provide a healthcare to their own employees.

Baystate Profits

  • Baystate Health has the financial means to provide safe staffing and fair RN benefits and wages. It ended 2014 and 2015 with a combined $121 million in profit, according to the state. During fiscal year 2016, BFMC alone reported $2.2 million in profits.


Bargaining Background


BFMC nurses held a one-day strike on June 26, 2017 after voting by a 93% margin to authorize the strike. The nurses were preemptively locked out of the hospital by Baystate management, who kept the RNs from caring for their patients the evening before the strike. The lockout lasted for two days following the strike and involved Baystate spending $1 million to hire replacement nurses from outside the community instead of allowing BFMC nurses to care for their patients once the strike concluded.


Following the strike, Baystate gave its “best and final” to BFMC nurses on July 21. BFMC nurses voted to reject that offer on August 15. The MNA has filed more than 20 unfair labor practice charges against Baystate on behalf of BFMC nurses for, among other reasons, failing to bargain in good faith over mandatory subjects of bargaining such as nurse workload and health insurance.

BFMC nurses began negotiating for a new contract in November 2016 to replace the contract that expired Dec. 31, 2016. A federal mediator is involved in negotiations.




Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.