Baystate Franklin nurses begin strike: 6 things to know

Nurses at Greenfield, Mass.-based Baystate Franklin Medical Center began their 24-hour strike April 11.

Here are six things to know.

1. The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents about 200 nurses at the hospital, said in a statement nurses went on strike at 7 a.m. and will be picketing outside the hospital throughout the day with community members and elected officials. There are also planned rallies at noon and 5 p.m.

"The nurses are coming throughout the day in various shifts, all with the message that Baystate must improve patient care conditions," the statement reads.

2. The strike comes amid contract negotiations between the nurses and Baystate Franklin. Both sides have been in negotiations since November 2016. Most recently, nurses authorized a potential one-day strike Feb. 8, and subsequently set the April 11 strike date.

3. Earlier this week, Baystate Franklin urged the union to hold a contract vote. Hospital officials said current proposals include a 4.9 percent salary increase over the duration of the contract, health insurance options requested by the union, written staffing commitments and various other benefits.

4. Baystate Franklin officials previously said the hospital will be open and operational during the strike, with exceptions such as the cardiac rehab unit, preadmission clinic, tuberculosis clinic and intensive care unit. They noted ICU patients will receive care at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. Additionally, Baystate Franklin is bringing in experienced temporary nurses, who will begin work at 7 p.m. April 10 and finish shifts at 7 p.m. April 13. Striking nurses will not be able to return to work until the temporary nurses leave due to the hospital's contract terms with the temporary workers.

5. The union and hospital confirmed April 11 that those plans were put in motion. Ron Bryant, interim president of Baystate Franklin said in an updated statement to Becker's Hospital Review: "We remain focused on providing quality care and will not be distracted by the disruptive and divisive tactics orchestrated by union leadership. The experienced temporary nurses are at the hospital now, providing the seamless quality care our patients deserve."

6. This is the second time Baystate Franklin nurses have gone on strike in the last year. Nurses also participated in a one-day strike in June.



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