GREENFIELD, Mass. – A Community Town Hall on Wednesday night will feature registered nurses from Baystate Franklin Medical Center sharing their concerns about patient safety at the hospital and community members asking questions and discussing their experiences at BFMC.
What: A Community Town Hall, sponsored by Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, Hampshire/Franklin County Central Labor Council and Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
When: Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: St. James Parish Hall at 8 Church St. in Greenfield.
“As we keep up our fight for safe patient care and a fair contract, it is more important than ever that the community hears directly from its local nurses,” said Donna Stern, RN and Senior Co-Chair of the BFMC MNA Bargaining Committee. “This event will give everyone a chance to learn about our specific patient care concerns and discuss the solutions nurses have proposed during negotiations.”
BFMC nurses held a one-day strike on June 26, 2017 after voting by a 93% margin to authorize the strike. The nurses were preemptively locked out of the hospital by Baystate management, who kept the RNs from caring for their patients the evening before the strike. The lockout lasted for two days following the strike and involved Baystate spending $1 million to hire replacement nurses from outside the community instead of allowing BFMC nurses to care for their patients once the strike concluded.
Following the strike, Baystate gave its “best and final” to BFMC nurses on July 21. That day BFMC nurses spent hours revising proposals, including on their key issue of improving nurse workload and staffing to protect patient care. A few minutes after providing management with their revised proposal, they flatly rejected it and gave nurses a pre-printed “best and final offer.”
BFMC nurses voted to reject that offer on August 15. The MNA has filed more than 20 unfair labor practice charges against Baystate on behalf of BFMC nurses for, among other reasons, failing to bargain in good faith over mandatory subjects of bargaining such as nurse workload and health insurance.
“Baystae has been refusing to bargain over our core issues of safe nurse staffing, workload and health insurance,” Stern said. “We are trying hard to negotiate a fair contract that protects patients and ensures quality of life and working conditions.”
BFMC nurses began negotiating for a new contract in November 2016 to replace the contract that expired Dec. 31, 2016. A federal mediator is involved in negotiations.
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.