Nearly 800 MNA-backed nurses begin strike at Berkshire Medical Center

Hospital and union officials confirmed nearly 800 nurses at Pittsfield, Mass.-based Berkshire Medical Center began a 24-hour strike Tuesday.

The Boston Globe reports the nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, are protesting what they deem as inadequate staffing.

"We're just trying to work really hard to fight for patient safety," Mark Brodeur, a nurse and member of the bargaining team for the MNA, told the publication. "We're doing a more public action to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening. It's our only chance to make sure we're heard."

The strike is scheduled to last until 7 a.m. Wednesday. But hospital officials have said nurses won't be able to return to work for an additional four days because Berkshire Medical Center hired replacement workers for a minimum five-day contract.

Meanwhile, the hospital is operating as usual.

"We are surprised that the union representing registered nurses at BMC has chosen to go on strike against the hospital in order to support their statewide political agenda, but today we are entirely focused on providing uninterrupted care for our patients and our community. All services are being provided at all of our campuses," Berkshire Medical Center said in an emailed statement to Becker's.

Both sides have been negotiating for about a year. This week's strike marks the first nurses strike at Berkshire Medical Center since 1981, according to the report.

 

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