Berkshire Medical Center Nurses Give Notice Of Strike

Sep 23, 2017

The Massachusetts Nurses Association put Berkshire Medical Center on notice that they plan to strike next month, largely because of a dispute over staffing levels at the Pittsfield hospital.

Nurses will hold a one-day strike Oct. 3 if Berkshire Medical Center does not engage in what the union considers "good faith negotiations" regarding the union's requests that the hospital increase the number of nurses working per shift, said Amber Van Bramer, a nurse who sits on the bargaining committee.

In May, union members rejected a contract Berkshire offered, which would have formed an employee panel that could weigh in on staffing matters.

"The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center were not happy with [the hospital's] offer for a staffing committee that really did not give us any more of a voice than we already have," Van Bramer said.

Michael Leary, a spokesman for Berkshire Health Systems, disputed that claim, asserting that the hospital has engaged in good faith negotiations.

In addition, Leary claims the one-day strike is a misnomer, since the the hospital would have to hire temporary replacements whose contracts require five days of work.