Unionized nurses at Baystate Health’s community hospital in Greenfield plan to go on strike on June 26 amid a tense contract dispute.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents about 200 nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, said Tuesday that it has scheduled the one-day strike to protest “bad faith bargaining” by hospital officials.
The union said it disagrees with the hospital on staffing levels and health benefits. It argues that nurses are severely overworked.
“When nurses are forced against their will to work extra hours or entire shifts, simply because the hospital has refused to hire enough staff to cover all available shifts, nurses are exhausted and more prone to make errors in care,” Donna Stern, co-chairwoman of the union bargaining unit, said in a statement. “Baystate management refuses to bargain over nurse workload or nurse hiring to improve the situation.”
Hospital officials said they were disappointed to learn about the planned strike.
“We have worked hard to obtain a successor contract for our nurses over the last several months,” Baystate Franklin president Cindy Russo said in a statement. “We remain committed to bargaining in good faith with the union to reach agreement.”
The work action was authorized as the union is also considering a strike at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where it represents 1,200 nurses. No strike date has been set at Tufts. Union members there rejected a contract offer from the hospital last week but returned to the bargaining table Monday and Tuesday.
In Western Massachusetts, Baystate is the dominant health care provider.
If no deal is reached to avoid the strike, nurses plan to walk out for 24 hours, beginning at 6 a.m. on June 26. Hospital officials said they plan to hire temporary nurses and keep the hospital open if there is a walkout.