NARH Pushes Nurses to Set Strike Date for Sept. 3
NORTH ADAMS, Mass—After yet another day of fruitless negotiations with the hospital’s recalcitrant anti-union lawyer, the registered nurses of North Adams Regional Hospital submitted their official notice of their intent to strike on Sept. 3.
After their overwhelming strike authorization vote on July 20, the nurses union negotiating team had hoped that yesterday’s negotiation session would bring a more reasoned response from Management.
“All the hopes we had that management would remove the concessions and find an equitable solution went out the window today. They not only kept the worst concessions on the table, they added more language that is unacceptable. We were left with no other alternative but to give them a strike date” said bargaining unit Chair Ruth O’Hearn, RN.
The date has been set for Friday, Sept. 3 at 6 a.m.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) represents 102 nurses at the hospital. The MNA bargaining unit has been negotiating contracts at NARH for thirty years. Negotiations began in January when management put forth a series of concessions that would leave the union contract totally meaningless. “We have tried to find a way to convince management that the concessions would be very harmful to our patients and they haven’t wanted to hear. We have good contract language that protects our quality of patient care. Management wants to remove this language and other language that will protect our patients,” said O’Hearn.
“We have been offering for months now to work with management as they go through tough financial times. Instead of taking up our offer NARH has given the nurses no option other than setting the strike date. We have absolutely no idea why the hospital has decided to force a strike, and the enormous costs that are associated with it, at a time when they claim to be in such financial trouble. The hospital is a very important resource and we are doing all we can to protect it,” said unit co-chair Mary McConnell. “Management now has a month to reverse the road they have chosen. We are willing to put ourselves on the line for the safety of our patients and the quality of our lives. We don’t want to strike, but the issues are so important we are willing to take this action. We are asking all the supporters of quality care at North Adams Regional Hospital to call the CEO and tell him it is time to take the concessions off the table and settle the contract,” said O’Hearn.