Baystate FMC nurses hold one-day strike in Greenfield


From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
September/October 2012 Edition

The registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center walked out of the hospital at 7 a.m. on Oct. 5 to begin a 24-hour unfair labor practice strike, the first nurses’ strike in the history of the Greenfield based hospital.

The MNA local bargaining unit of 209 registered nurses has been at the table for 28 sessions over the last year, and during that time Baystate management has committed a number of unfair labor practices and has refused to make the necessary compromises to settle an equitable contract.

The nurses were joined by community and labor supporters as well as by more than 100 nurses from hospitals across the state who shared the nurses’ concerns for patients safety.

“As nurses who care for the patients of Franklin County, we were left no alternative,” said Linda Judd, RN and bargaining unit co-chair. “We don’t want to be out of the hospital on strike, but if we were to accept Baystate’s proposals it would lead to very unsafe situations for our patients.” Nurses called for the strike in response to Baystate’s unfair labor practices, as well as to their demands for unreasonable concessions from the nurses, including proposals that will:

  • Strip them of key union rights
  • Increase the dangerous use of overtime to staff the hospital
  • Discipline nurses for using legitimate sick time, thus forcing them to care for patients when they are ill

“Baystate has taken some very radical positions that would be harmful to quality patient care,” said Donna Stern, RN and co-chair of the bargaining committee. “And the hospital also continues to demand concessions that will cost the nurses thousands of dollars and deeply cut into our ability to negotiate over wages and health insurance. In order to protect the quality of our patient care and the integrity of our union contract we had to call a strike.”

The nurses returned to the bargaining table on Oct. 25 and the committee was preparing to strike again if no progress was made.