At Two WMass Hospitals, A Return To The Bargaining Table

Jul 11, 2017

Nurses and management at two western Mass hospitals are heading back to the bargaining table next week.

Without a contact since the start of the year, more than 200 nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield held a one day strike last month, and were locked out for two additional days. Since then, a federal mediator called for a cooling off period before further talks.

Suzanne Love, a nurse at the hospital, said the union sent a powerful message to hospital administrators.

"They could see not only are people who live in this community who get care here are supporting the nurses, but also area labor groups," Love said.

The main sticking points are staffing levels and changes to employee benefits.

In a statement, Baystate says it looks forward to resuming negotiations.

Meanwhile in Pittsfield, unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have been working without a contract for almost a year and could take a strike vote this month. Negotiations there are also scheduled to resume next week.