Berkshire Medical Center Nurses to Hold Labor Rally, Visit Trustees during Lockout on Friday, Oct. 6
Berkshire Medical Center nurses are fighting for safe patient care and a fair contract
PITTSFIELD, Mass., Oct. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Berkshire Medical Center nurses, and their union and community supporters will hold a rally at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6 outside the hospital after visiting members of the Berkshire Health Systems Board of Trustees.
"Non-profit boards are stewards tasked with the amazing responsibility of overseeing valuable community resources," said RN Alex Neary, Co-Chair of the BMC MNA Bargaining Committee. "Berkshire Medical Center and the patient care that nurses and other staff provide are among our community's most valuable assets. BMC is funded primarily through public money and therefore trustees should take the time to listen to members of our community and take action."
Board of Trustee Visits
What: BMC nurses and supporters will visit members of the Berkshire Health Systems Board of Trustees to ask them to direct the hospital management to bargain solutions to the nurses' issues.
When: Starting at 12 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6.
Where: First visit to BHS Trustee Barton Raser at Carr Hardware at 547 North St. in Pittsfield
Other visits afterward include: BHS Trustee John Bissell, at 150 West St. in Pittsfield (Greylock Federal Credit Union, where he works as the CEO); and BHS Trustee Jerome Jay Anderson, at 70 South St. in Pittsfield (The Pittsfield Cooperative Bank where he works as COO).
Labor Solidarity Rally, Sponsored by the Berkshire Central Labor Council
What: BMC nurses, and union and community supporters will rally and then link arms along the sidewalk in front of the hospital. This show of solidarity is in support of a fair contract that protects safe patient care at BMC and respects nurses.
When: Friday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m.
Where: Outside Berkshire Medical Center on North Street in Pittsfield.
One-Day Strike and Lock Out Background
During a rally in North Adams on Thursday, Berkshire Medical Center nurses and advocates brought attention to the economic and health care injustice of BMC making $47 million in profits last year – more than three times the state average – while refusing to provide safe RN staffing and essential hospital services in North Adams.
Read more about that issue here: http://massnurses.org/news-and-events/p/openItem/10669
BMC refused to allow its own nurses back into the hospital on Wednesday morning after their 24-hour strike ended. Nurses were ready to return to caring for their patients after advocating for them and a fair contract. The hospital had previously announced it would lock out BMC nurses and keep them outside for four additional days as a consequence of the strike. The hospital said instead it would pay for replacement nurses from outside the community. The MNA is seeking information from the employer to obtain evidence that this is retaliatory and therefore unlawful.
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.
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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