Massachusetts lawmaker offers to mediate labor dispute at Baystate Franklin, hospital opts for direct talks

Greenfield, Mass.-based Baystate Franklin Medical Center said it plans to continue direct negotiations with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, despite an offer of help from U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

Mr. McGovern recently offered to help the hospital and union resolve their contract dispute and reach an agreement. The MNA said in a statement they accepted his offer, and urged the hospital to immediately also accept. However, Baystate Franklin spokesperson Shelly Hazlett said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review that the hospital wanted to continue direct communications with the MNA.

"We remain focused on reaching a successful resolution to our contract discussions with the MNA at Baystate Franklin Medical Center," said the hospital. "While we appreciate Congressman McGovern's interest in this issue, at this time, we plan to continue direct conversations with the union. We successfully reached agreement and fairly addressed all concerns with the MNA bargaining units at Baystate Noble Hospital and with Baystate Visiting Nurse Association, and we look forward to doing so with the MNA at Baystate Franklin."

Both sides have been in negotiations since November 2016. Negotiations have been contentious at times, resulting in a one-day strike in June. Most recently, the MNA authorized a potential one-day strike Feb. 8, according to the union. Nurses would still have to call a strike and provide the hospital with at least 10 days notice before a strike could occur. No strike date is set.

Staffing concerns and health insurance remain key sticking points in negotiations, according to The Recorder. Union spokesperson Joe Markman told the publication nurses hope to have another negotiating session with the hospital within the month.

 

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