By contrast, Baystate simply wants to eliminate overtime pay, which removes the one disincentive from using overtime as a staffing tool," said Donna Stern, RN, a nurse at BFMC and co-chair of the nurses' local bargaining unit.
Baystate said two years ago that the total daily overtime cost at BFMC for the RNs was $180,000 on an annual basis.
Thousands of Franklin County residents have signed a petition of support for the Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses and delegations of community supporters and elected officials have called on Baystate to avoid further conflict and settle a fair contract with the nurses at BFMC.
The vote to authorize a strike involved the 209 registered nurses represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United at BFMC
and was held all day and into the night at the first Congregational Church in Greenfield.
Donna Stern, a nurse on the mental health unit at BFMC
, and co-chair of the MNA bargaining unit, added, "Baystate has been saying for over a year that they believe their proposal is fair and consistent with industry standards.
It was clear to us that Baystate was attempting to break the law to silence nurses, who were only exercising their right to advocate for ourselves and our patients," said Linda Judd, RN, a nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the MNA/NNU bargaining unit for BFMC.
Nurses at BFMC fear that eliminating this curb on management's behavior would result in far more instances of nurses being required to work extended shifts since the economic disincentive would be removed.
This issue is of great importance to both nurses and patients, because an exhausted nurse cannot provide safe patient care," said Donna Stern, RN, a nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the local bargaining unit at BFMC.
Residents of Deerfield cast an overwhelming vote last night to approve a resolution placed on the warrant for the 2013 Annual Town Meeting, which calls upon Baystate Health System to ensure and maintain a broad range of health services at nearby Baystate Franklin Medical Center and to prevent the further erosion of services once available at BFMC that are now only offered in Springfield.
It is our sincere hope that Baystate Health will commit the resources and services at BFMC that are needed to maintain the health of the residents of this rural community.
Community Members to Share Ideas and Strategies to Ensure BFMC Remains a Full-Service Community Hospital Providing a Full Range of Services Close to Home
What: Registered nurses from Baystate Franklin Medical Center (BFMC), along with other community leaders and advocates will be hosting a Community Forum on the Future of Baystate Franklin Medical Center on March 6 to allow residents of Franklin County to share their concerns and discuss actions community members can take to ensure the continuation of BFMC as a full-service community hospital, providing a full range of services close to home.