PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will share their experiences, and urge hospital owner Berkshire Health Systems to take necessary steps to recruit and retain staff and protect the quality of patient care during an April 25 virtual community forum co-hosted by the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation and Pete White, Vice President of Pittsfield City Council.
Virtual Community Forum
When: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 25
Where: A virtual forum hosted on Zoom and shared on social media. The public and media are welcome to attend.
How: A link to join the forum is available at www.massnurses.org/BerkshireForum.
Participants: Massachusetts Nurses Association, SEIU 1199 (representing BMC LPNs); Western Mass Area Labor Federation, Pete White, Vice President of Pittsfield City Council
"This virtual forum will provide important insights into the experiences of Berkshire County caregivers and the support they need to provide safe, high-quality patient care,” said Lydia Wood, Field Organizer at Western Mass Area Labor Federation, and emcee of the forum. “The nurses and all Berkshire Health Systems employees are an essential part of our community and our well-being.”
“We want the public to understand what it has been like on the frontlines of healthcare over the last two years and what we need today to provide the kind of care our patients deserve,” said Alex Neary, a registered nurse at BMC and a Co-Chair of the MNA Bargaining Committee. “Working together as caregivers and the community we can urge Berkshire Health Systems to address the retention problems that are negatively affecting our ability to provide the best possible patient care.”
In fall 2021, BMC MNA nurses began negotiating a new contract, their first since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Nurses are concerned about the approach Berkshire Health Systems is taking so far in negotiations, as executives have not agreed to make the improvements necessary to boost nurse recruitment and retention and ensure safe, high-quality patient care.
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.