When: Friday, March 14 beginning at 6 p.m.
Where: The Greenfield Grille, 30 Federal St. Greenfield, MA
The nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center will be holding a Community Celebration at the Greenfield Grille on Friday March 14th beginning at 6:00 p.m. The party will be to celebrate the nurses’ recent resolution of their longstanding contract dispute with Baystate, to thank the community for its support, and to provide a gathering for informal discussions regarding the ongoing efforts to ensure greater community control over health care services in Franklin County.
“The nurses appreciate the deep and broad community and political support that has been shown across Franklin County,” said Donna Stern, RN, a nurse at the facility and co-chair of the bargaining unit. “And as committed caregivers and members of this community, we look forward to continuing our efforts to work with our community allies to ensure patients have access to the full range of services they need right here in Franklin County.”
Linda Judd, a nurse for 38 years at BFMC and co-chair of the bargaining unit, said, “The last two and a half years showed what we can accomplish when nurses and patients, health care workers and community activists all work together to make sure that our hospital is responsive to the needs of the community right here in Greenfield. This is a work in progress and we pledge to continue to make our voices heard so that Greenfield and Franklin County residents gain greater control over the future of our community hospital.”
Over the last two years, Franklin County residents showed their support for the nurses by posting some 1200 yard signs in front of residences across the county, gathering over 2000 signatures on a petition to Baystate executives, passing resolutions at ten town meetings county-wide, participating in rallies and pickets, and holding a community forum which called on Baystate to maintain and restore services at Franklin Medical Center. Countless letters were sent by Franklin County residents to the newspapers, elected officials, and to Baystate executives. The nurses’ contract was ultimately resolved when Baystate executives in Springfield dropped their demands for eliminating basic nursing practice protections. However, the movement to ensure greater community control over decisions made about local hospital services has continued to grow. An ongoing discussion has been taking place about ways to formalize these efforts through some type of community oversight board. The March 14th celebration will provide an informal opportunity for those discussions to continue.