Regional Council 1 News
Berkshire Medical Center Nurses to Return to Patient Care Sunday Morning after 4-Day Lockout by BMC
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Medical Center nurses will gather outside the hospital before the anticipated 7 a.m. conclusion of the hospital’s four-day lockout as they prepare to march in solidarity back inside BMC to care for their patients.
“If Berkshire Medical Center had agreed to reasonable compromises such as limiting the patient assignments of charge nurses to ensure safe patient care, we would have been inside the hospital this entire week, taking caring of our patients with the proper resources,” said Alex Neary, RN and Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Unit. “On Sunday morning we will proudly return to the patients we have been advocating for outside the hospital. We will keep fighting for a fair contract that benefits our patients, our nurses and our community.”
Anticipated RN Lockout Conclusion
What: BMC nurses and supporters gather outside the hospital in anticipation of RNs being allowed back inside to care for their patients after the one-day strike and four-day lockout.
When: 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Where: Outside the main entrance of BMC at 725 North St. in Pittsfield
BMC Nurses File Charge
On Thursday, Oct. 5, the Massachusetts Nurses Association filed an unfair labor practice charge against Berkshire Medical Center for failing and refusing to provide relevant and necessary information and documents surrounding the use of replacement nurses.
For a copy of the unfair labor practice charge, email Joe Markman at email@example.com.
BMC refused to allow its own nurses back into the hospital on Wednesday morning after their 24-hour strike ended. Nurses were ready to return to caring for their patients after advocating for them and a fair contract. The hospital said instead it would pay for replacement nurses from outside the community. The MNA is seeking information from the employer to obtain evidence that this is retaliatory and therefore unlawful.
This is the fifth unfair labor practice charge filed by the MNA on behalf of BMC nurse against the hospital. Nurses have also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against BMC for refusing to bargain in good faith over RN workload and staffing, threatening to retaliate against nurses if they engage in protected activity and refusing to provide health insurance data necessary for bargaining.
One-Day Strike and Lockout Background
During a rally in North Adams on Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center nurses and advocates brought attention to the economic and health care injustice of BMC making $47 million in profits last year – more than three times the state average – while refusing to provide safe RN staffing and essential hospital services in North Adams. Read more about that issue here: http://massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/10669
A Labor Solidarity Rally on Friday included several hundred nurses and community members speaking up for patient safety and a fair contract. Afterward they linked arms in a massive display of unity surrounding the hospital. For photos and video go to www.facebook.com/MassNurses or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The nearly 800 registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, delivered a 10-day notice to hospital management on Friday, Sept. 22 notifying BMC of their intent to hold a one-day strike. That strike ran from 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Nurses were then locked out by the hospital at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.
BMC nurses have been bargaining in good faith for a year, seeking to ensure that their patients are able to receive the safest and most effective nursing care possible. The hospital has refused to negotiate over concrete improvements to patient care and RN staffing. BMC management has also refused to provide information necessary for nurses to negotiate quality, affordable health insurance.
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.