WESTFIELD, Mass. – Registered nurses from Baystate Franklin Medical Center, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will deliver a community petition on Wednesday, April 27 to Baystate Health Board of Trustees Chair Robert Bacon in Westfield seeking immediate action from Baystate on valuing BFMC nurses, protecting patients and keeping care local.
BFMC Community Petition Delivery
Time: 12 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 27
Location: 68 Union Street, Westfield (the corporate HQ of Elm Electric, the company led by Robert Bacon)
BFMC nurses have been negotiating a new MNA contract, their first since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Nurses are concerned about the approach Baystate Health is taking so far in negotiations, as executives refuse to commit to long-term staffing protections and have not agreed to make the improvements necessary to boost nurse recruitment and retention during these challenging times. As a result, community supporters and nurses launched a petition signed by more than 650 people so far that can be found at www.massnurses.org/BFMCpetition.
The community petition reads, in part, “Exhausted by the lack of respect and basic decency from their employer, more and more nurses have been driven out of BFMC and the nursing profession. These are our family, friends, and neighbors. They live in our communities and have our full support.
“WE, the undersigned, demand that Baystate’s corporate executives address recruitment and retention so the hospital can have the staff we desperately need to provide safe, quality care. Executives must stop focusing on generating profits and giving themselves excessive pay and bonuses. They must value BFMC nurses, protect patients and keep care local!”
The petition delivery follows a March 9 virtual community forum attended by more than 100 people and featuring testimony from nurses, elected officials, and labor and community supporters. Nurses have also launched a lawn sign campaign and are holding regular banner standouts in front of Baystate Health locations.
“The lack of respect and support from Baystate Health executives during the last two years of the pandemic is driving nurses away from the hospital and the profession,” said Donna Stern, RN in the BFMC mental health unit and MNA Co-Chair. “Our community understands this and has our backs in this fight to get Baystate to invest in our staff and make sure patients receive the local, quality care they deserve.”
“Recruiting nurses and keeping them at the bedside at Baystate Franklin is a huge challenge right now,” said Suzanne Love, RN in the BFMC emergency department and MNA Co-Chair. “Together with our community we are demanding that Baystate value its staff, protect its patients and ensure residents have access to local care.”
Despite the pandemic, Baystate Health has continued to make substantial profits. The system made $44.2 million in profits in 2020 and $135 million in 2021, according to the Center for Health Information and Analysis. A significant portion of those profits are going to executive compensation. Between 2018 and 2020, CEO Dr. Mark Keroack made $6.4 million, including $2.45 million in 2020.
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.