Baystate Franklin schedules 3-day lockout to coincide with planned nurse strike: 6 things to know

Nurses at Greenfield, Mass.-based Baystate Franklin Medical Center will not be able to return to work for three days if they go on strike as planned Feb. 28, according to a Greenfield Recorder report. 

Here are six things to know.

1. In a letter cited by the publication, BFMC Acting President Ron Bryant told nurses the lockout is scheduled to start the evening before the planned strike, and striking nurses will not be allowed to return to work until 7 p.m. March 2.

"We want to be clear: While we must prepare for this strike in a way that allows safe, effective care, we will do so in a way that is respectful of our nurses," Mr. Bryant wrote, according to the report.

2. Mr. Bryant said the lockout is to "maintain hospital operations," and BFMC will use temporary nurses to "ensure seamless care delivery," the Greenfield Recorder reports. The hospital must commit to hire the temporary nurses for a minimum of three work days.

3. The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents about 200 BFMC nurses, called the lockout "retaliatory."

"Instead of spending public money — Baystate Franklin Medical Center is 69 percent public payer according to state data — forcing nurses to strike and locking them out, Baystate should get back to the bargaining table and negotiate fair contract," the union said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

4. In the meantime, the MNA revealed plans for the Greenfield City Council to visit Mark Keroack, MD, the CEO of Springfield, Mass.-based Baystate Health, Wednesday prior to visiting Ed Noonan, a Baystate Health board member. The union said city council members will advocate for improved patient care and a fair contract.

5. BFMC spokesperson Shelly Hazlett told Becker's Hospital Review in a statement that the hospital learned of the Greenfield City Council's planned trip to Springfield through the media.  

"Should the councilors have an interest in their community hospital in Greenfield, we suggest they schedule a time to meet with Baystate Franklin leadership in Greenfield," the statement reads. "It is the mediator's job to communicate between the union representing Baystate Franklin's registered nurses and the hospital leadership regarding contract negotiation matters. We look forward to contract resolution through appropriate processes, and find it unfortunate that the MNA is choosing to strike rather than come to the table to negotiate." 

6. The MNA and Baystate Franklin 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, and a strike notice was issued Feb. 16. Additionally, the hospital recently rejected an offer from U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., to host negotiations between the hospital and union. 




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