Nurses Won't Be Rushed Into Consessions
“We are Dedicated to Working with the Hospital to Resolve their Financial Crisis”
The registered Nurses of North Adams Regional Hospital voted today not to re-open negotiations on their collective bargaining agreement. “The hospital made it clear that they want to rush these negotiations and the only solutions they have come up with are severe concessions,” said bargaining unit Chair Ruth O’Hearn, RN.
The hospital raised the possibility of re-opening negotiations in early November and then for the next six weeks said nothing. On December 22 management informed the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining unit that they need to know by January 2, 2009 if the nurses will participate in concession negotiations which must be completed within two weeks. The RNs did not receive a concession proposal until Wednesday December 24. Obliviously there are logistical problems with two major holidays in this period and many nurses are out of town or on vacation. But, according to O’Hearn there are more serious problems, “First we didn’t get their proposals until December 24 and they are offering very little time to discuss and review these concession demands with our members. If the hospital was aware of possible financial problems almost two months ago, why wouldn’t they have offered to sit down with us at that point?”
The proposal the hospital put forward includes cutting a previously negotiated pay raise scheduled for April 1 and troublesome language changes on overtime and differentials that the nurses have gained over many years of hard fought contract negotiations.
‘We continue to be dedicated to providing the highest quality care to our patients and doing our part at the bedside. We are also dedicated to the hospital and want to see its continued fiscal viability. We live and work in this community. This is our hospital, but we will not be threatened and pushed by management. We are dedicated to working with the hospital to resolve their financial crisis.” said O’Hearn.