Nurses strike at Baystate Franklin Medical Center begins this mo - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Nurses strike at Baystate Franklin Medical Center begins this morning

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GREENFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Some nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center are set to go on strike for 24 hours starting Wednesday morning.

Nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center say they are tired of being overworked and understaffed, and are asking for equal conditions to the patients they care for.

Tuesday night, Baystate began a three day lock out of the nurses. The nurses’ strike officially begins at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

Discussions have gone on for quite some time. This is now the 2nd time the nurses have been locked out in less than a year. In all about 200 union nurses will go on strike.

In the meantime, the hospital has temporary nurses working in the building and is closing their cardiac rehab unit, pre-admission clinic, TB clinic and ICU during the three day lockout.

Western Mass News is told that ICU patients will be transferred to Baystate in Springfield.

According to the nurses going on strike, they are overworked and understaffed, which they say is putting patient care at risk. And while they said they now have “a little” better insurance since the last negotiations took place, some things haven’t changed.

“He has nurses working, one nurse almost 20 hours which is violation of Massachusetts law,” Donna Stern, a nurse on strike, said. “Talking about nurses working so many hours that they can't leave on time or take normal hours. Our working conditions equal patient health conditions.”

The hospital administration said they’ve addressed nurse concerns, including a near 5 percent salary increase, and the proposed health care options.

The hospital’s interim president, Ron Bryant, released a statement which reads in part: “We remain focused on providing quality care and will not be distracted by the disruptive tactics orchestrated by union leadership.”

The hospital adds that about half of the temporary nurses filling in during this lockout worked during the last one.

Western Mass News will have continued coverage of the strike throughout the day.

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