Nurses at Greenfield hospital plan one-day strike

(Western Mass News file photo)

Starting Wednesday, the registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield will hold a 24 hour strike as the hospital has scheduled a three day lockout ahead of that strike.

This is part of a year-long dispute between the union and the hospital.

This is the second time in less than a year that nurses will be locked out of Baystate Franklin as part of an ongoing labor dispute.

Nurses said that they are overworked and understaffed, which they said impacts patient care.

However, hospital administrators disagree.

Starting Wednesday, the 200 union nurses of Baystate Franklin will go on strike. Ahead of that, the hospital will lock out the nurses on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and bring in other nurses for three days.

"We did get a little better on the insurance, so it's good for us, but didn't help our patients," said Robin Neipp, an ER nurse at Baystate Franklin. Neipp has been a nurse here for 47 years, 26 of them in the ER. She told Western Mass News that the nurses are overworked, understaffed, and puts patient care at risk.

The union would like staffing requirements put into writing.

"If we have it in the contract, no one can come in and change it," Neipp added.

Neipp also said she is concerned for care during the lockout.

"I'm sad. I don't think it's safe for the community. I worry about my family and friends having to come here. I’m not saying they are bad nurses. They can't take care of you the way we do," Neipp said.

That's something the hospitals interim president Don Bryant disagrees with.

“I would say they are untrue. I don't think our patient care is impacted at all. We put in safeguards that we will have safe quality care through this disruption," Bryant said.

Hospital administrators said that they have addressed the nurse's concerns and add that half of the hired nurses worked here during the last lockout.

Deborah Provost, Baystate Franklin's interim chief nursing officer, said that the language the union is seeking would prevent scheduling flexibility, particularly when dealing with a rush of patients like during this recent flu season. "There were patients that were coming to Baystate Franklin with ratios or putting standards in the contract would prevent is from seeing patients they would have to wait," said Provost.

At 7 p.m. tomorrow, the nurses on-shift will be escorted out of the hospital and temporary nurses will be brought in beginning the three day lockout.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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