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Berkshire Medical Center Nurses to Hold Patient Safety Vigil on Monday, Oct. 2 Ahead of One-Day Strike Tuesday


BMC nurses have been trying for years to ensure safe patient care at their hospital, but BMC has refused to bargain over RN staffing

PITTSFIELD, Mass., Oct. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Berkshire Medical Center nurses will join community members from across Berkshire County on Monday evening for a Patient Safety Vigil ahead of a 24-hour strike scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 7 a.m.

"As a registered nurse, nothing comes before the safety of my patients," said Alex Neary, RN and Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee. "For as long as I have been a caregiver and advocate for my patients at Berkshire Medical Center, I have never encountered such disregard for nurses and such overwhelming resistance from the hospital to simply work with us to make sure our patients are cared for safely."

Patient Safety Vigil
BMC nurses and supporters gather in solidarity the evening before a planned one-day strike.
Nurses are calling on BMC to bargain in good faith and settle a fair contract.

Monday, Oct. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Outside Berkshire Medical Center on North Street in Pittsfield.

One-Day RN Strike Begins
Nurses and supporters gather to greet RNs leaving the hospital for 24-hour strike

Tuesday, Oct. 3   6:30 - 7 a.m.

Outside Berkshire Medical Center at 725 North St. in Pittsfield and outside the North Adams Campus at 71 Hospital Ave. in North Adams.

Public Rallies
BMC nurses, friends, family, community members and elected officials rally

Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Outside Berkshire Medical Center at 725 North St. in Pittsfield.

One-Day RN Strike Ends
BMC nurses and supporters gather before the 24-hour strike ends to support RNs planning to re-enter the hospital to care for their patients.

Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 6:30 to 7 a.m.

Outside Berkshire Medical Center at 725 North St. in Pittsfield and outside the North Adams
Campus at 71 Hospital Ave. in North Adams. Also at the Hillcrest Campus at 165 Tor Court in Pittsfield.

One-Day Strike Background
The nearly 800 registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, delivered a 10-day notice to hospital management on Friday, Sept. 22 notifying BMC of their intent to hold a one-day strike beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and running until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

BMC nurses have been bargaining in good faith for a year, seeking to ensure that their patients are able to receive the safest and most effective nursing care possible. The hospital has refused to negotiate over concrete improvements to patient care and RN staffing. BMC management has also refused to provide information necessary for nurses to negotiate quality, affordable health insurance.

BMC Nurses Locked Out
BMC has announced it will lock out BMC nurses and keep them from caring for their patients for four days as a consequence of the strike. The hospital said instead it will pay for replacement nurses from outside the community. The MNA is seeking information from the employer to counter evidence that this is retaliatory and therefore unlawful.

"We are ready to return to caring for our patients Wednesday morning," said Jerri Jakacky, RN and Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee. "Berkshire Medical Center nurses are irreplaceable. We walk the halls of this hospital every day, many of us for decades. We have an intimate knowledge of our patients, our technology, our staff and our community. There is no way that nurses outside of this facility, who have never worked in this hospital can step in and provide safe patient care to our patients."

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association

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