Greenfield Town Council Calls on Baystate Health to Settle Contract with Franklin Medical Center Nurses
GREENFIELD, MA – The Greenfield Town Council voted this week in favor of a resolution calling on the administration of Baystate Health Systems to reach a “swift and fair resolution to current contract negotiations” with the registerd nurses of Baystate Frankin Medical Center in Greenfield “to ensure continued quality health care services to the community.”
The council vote was 6 – 0 (with four abstentions). The vote follows a nearly unanimous vote in favor of a similar resolution by 3,000 delegates at the Democratic Convention held earlier this month, and in the wake of a finding by the National Labor Relations Board that Baystate Health violated federal labor law in its handling of negotiations with the Baystate VNA nurses in Springfield.
“We are pleased that the Town Council has called for fair resolution of contract negotiations with Baystate,” said Donna Stern, RN, co-chair of the 210-member bargaining unit of registered nurses who work at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. . “As a resident of Greenfield, I am pleased that the Town Council heard the concerns of the community regarding patient safety, the nurses’ right to collective bargaining, and the future of health care in our community.”
“Baystate Health, a massive corporation centered in Springfield, Massachusetts, continues to insist that Greenfield nurses agree to give up their collective bargaining rights altogether in the areas of wages, attendance policy, and health insurance. And they want to continue and expand the dangerous practice of forced mandatory overtime. No nurse should be forced to work beyond her or his already-scheduled shift. This is a matter of basic decency and patient safety,” Stern added.
The Greenfield Town Council resolution comes just weeks after a strongly-worded resolution passed at the 2012 Democratic State Convention held in Springfield, Massachusetts. Over 3,000 Democratic Party activists and elected officials from cities and towns across Massachusetts attending the June 2 Convention voted almost unanimously in support of the following resolution:
Resolution in Support of Organized Labor and Collective Bargaining at Baystate Health
Whereas, the Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party affirms that “the best way to grow the middle class and promote economic equality is to encourage collective bargaining and increased unionization”,
Whereas, organized labor and working people are under increased attack nationally and here in Massachusetts,
Whereas, Baystate Health, the largest health care system in western Massachusetts and based here in Springfield, has a documented history of anti-union behavior, has been found by the National Labor Relations Board to have violated federal labor law, and has consistently opposed workers’ right to organize,
Whereas, Baystate Health is trying to take away the right of union nurses at Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice and at Baystate Franklin Medical Center to bargain over wages and health care,
Therefore, be it resolved that delegates to the 2012 Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention call on Baystate Health to respect the right to organize and bargain collectively and to honor union nurses’ right to bargain over wages and health care.
“We are heartened by the growing chorus of community voices that are calling on Baystate to stop their low-road anti-union behavior and to do the right thing by their nurses and the larger community,” Stern said.
Red and white lawn signs calling on Baystate to “Respect Union Nurses” are going up throughout the Pioneer Valley.Nurses and their community supporters also are circulating public petitions calling on Baystate to respect collective bargaining and settle a fair contract with the Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest professional health care organization and 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. The MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.