Baystate Franklin Medical Center has locked out their union nurses Tuesday night in response to a 24-hour strike.

The hospital has brought in temporary nurses for the three day lockout period.

This is all a part of a labor dispute between the union and the hospital which been going on for more than a year.

Nurses told Western Mass News they will keep fighting for resources they believe they deserve. This is the second time in less than a year that the nurses have been locked out of Baystate Franklin Medical center. "Our number one charge as a nurse fight for safe patient care that's what it says in our ethic code that's why we're willing to do this," said Donna Stern. Stern is a Registered Nurse at Baystate Franklin.

She told Western Mass News that they are overworked, understaffed, and it puts patient care at risk.

They want updated staffing requirements as part of a new contract. "He has nurses working one nurse almost 20 hours which is violation of Massachusetts law. 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," Stern added. Hospital administrators said they have addressed the nurse's concerns.

Baystate Franklin cites the hospital's most recent offer of a 4.9 percent salary increase and agreeing to the union's proposed healthcare options.

In regards to the the language the union is seeking, Baystate Franklin's Interim President Ronald Bryant said it would prevent scheduling flexibility. For the time being, Bryant told Western Mass News in a interview on Monday, they have prepared for this strike.

"We put in safe guards that we will have safe quality care through this disruption," Bryant said. Baystate Franklin is closing their cardiac rehab unit, preadmission clinic, TB clinic and ICU during the three day lockout.

ICU patients will be transferred to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. The 24-hour nurses strike begins Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.

Nurses said they plan to rally every day during this three day lockout.

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have the latest as it becomes available.

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

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