Baystate Noble nurses pave way for possible strike

The union representing nurses at Westfield, Mass.-based Baystate Noble Hospital said members voted Aug. 8 to reject management's "best and final" offer and authorize a one-day strike.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association noted a strike date is not scheduled. By authorizing the strike, the nurses give their MNA bargaining committee the option to call a strike "if and when the nurses' bargaining committee deems it is necessary." The union would have to give the hospital at least 10 days notice before a strike occurs.

"Noble Hospital nurses are standing up together for our patients and ourselves because it is clear Baystate executives do not want a fair compromise," Paul Dubin, RN co-chair of the Noble MNA Bargaining Committee, said. "We have been trying to negotiate over nurse staffing and patient care conditions and quality health insurance for 14 months. Recently our local management team appeared to lose all power to negotiate. Instead Baystate executives are refusing to bargain in good faith over our key issues."

Ronald Bryant, president of Baystate Noble Hospital, expressed disappointment in the strike authorization.

"This action is completely inconsistent with our leadership's good faith efforts to address issues collaboratively and reach resolution in a way that is fair to our nurses," he said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

The two sides are slated to go back to negotiations Aug. 24. Meanwhile, Mr. Bryant said Baystate Noble "remain[s] hopeful that our ongoing negotiations, supported by a federal mediator, will reach a successful resolution. However, we are preparing for a potential strike to assure that care to the community will continue uninterrupted."


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