Union nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts announced today (Thursday) they plan to hold a one-day strike October 5th. The nurses and Baystate Franklin have been unsuccessfully negotiating a contract since last October.
Union nurses with the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) voted to authorize a strike late last month, but held off scheduling one until after a meeting with hospital representatives on Wednesday. Donna Stern, co-chair of the union’s bargaining unit, says the union hopes to come to a resolution before the strike.
“We’re going to bargain right up until the eleventh hour, and bargain right up until October 5th.”
Nurses have alleged Baystate Franklin officials are attempting to break their union by limiting their collective bargaining rights. Baystate has denied that claim.
Deborah Palmeri, chief nursing officer at Baystate Franklin, says the hospital bargained in good faith, and offered a comprehensive package of wages and benefits to the nurses.
“We had hoped that that would contribute to a significant progress in our negotiations, and we are disappointed that the MNA was not more receptive to the proposals.”
Hospital and union officials are at odds on overtime pay for nurses. Baystate has proposed changes that would pay overtime to nurses for hours worked beyond forty hours a week, which is the federal standard. The nurses currently receive pay for daily overtime, and they’d like to keep it that way. The next scheduled negotiating session is next Thursday.