News & Events

SEIU-member’s letter in support of NARH nurses

Make your voices heard
To the Editor:
Posted: 08/23/2010 02:44:09 AM EDT

Last year my union, SEIU [Service Employees International Union] fought a tough battle to keep our jobs and contract intact at North Adams Regional Hospital. It was a very long and stressful month of negotiations. We came within 36 hours of having to go on strike just two weeks before Christmas.

We were all relieved beyond words for our fair resolution after management and their out-of-town union buster tried to desecrate our contract. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would go after the same concessions with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. They not only demanded the same ridiculous takeaways, such as being able to send staff home and call them in whenever they wanted to, but also to force them to make up weekends and holidays they aren’t able to work due to illness or family emergencies! Management has gone after them even worse than they came after SEIU, and it is completely unacceptable.

Our hospital is small and in crisis, no doubt about it. However, forcing nurses to work at the beck and call of the hospital with no guaranteed work hours and no control over their personal lives will only put the hospital in worse crisis.

We are all working very hard to keep our hospital afloat and to make our patients comfortable while they are there. Our patients deserve happy and rested staff who enjoy coming to work. Our unions work well together, and I, for one, do not look forward to the possibility of having to work with scab nurses while my co-workers are striking down the street, fighting to maintain their fair contract. We need to get this resolved. Northern Berkshire Healthcare has to realize there is a better way to help our dismal financial outlook than by tearing apart the very people who have been the backbone of the hospital for decades.

Please call Rick Palmisano at NARH and tell him our community needs this hospital and our RNs deserve a fair working contract. The strike deadline is fast approaching. Please make your voices heard!

Jennifer Kline

North Adams

Aug. 20