GREENFIELD, Mass (WWLP) - Baystate Franklin Medical Center nurses could be going on a second strike in two years over contract negotiations.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association and Baystate Franklin Medical Center have been in contract negotiations for nearly two years disagreeing mainly on overtime and sick pay. On Tuesday registered nurses voted to approve a three day strike if negotiations fail again.
Gloria Arfer, of Greenfield told 22News, "The nurses I know and have spoken to about these kinds of things. They are incredibly overworked. They have too many people per nurse."
“The nurses have been clear – they want to reduce and eliminate overtime as a staffing tool. By contrast, Baystate simply wants to eliminate overtime pay, which removes the one disincentive from using overtime as a staffing tool,” said Donna Stern, a nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the bargaining unit in a press release.
President of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Chuck Gijanto says they're already in contingency planning, but it’s a bit different from last year when there was only a one day strike and they were able to bring in help for services from the Baystate system.
"This year if there is a strike it will be a three day strike so it will change our planning somewhat including perhaps needing some outside agency help to help cover the hospital in the case of a strike,” Gijanto said.
Gijanto says that this potential strike will not affect services, and wants to reassure the community that they will still get the care they need.
Residents 22News spoke with said the ongoing tensions make them uneasy.
"You know it does have some reason to cause some worry amongst the locals here. You know three days is a long time and it could seriously cut into someones medical needs if they're not going to be there to take care of them, said Tim Caplice of Greenfield.
Wednesday, October 23 will be the 40th contract negotiation session from 9a.m. to 1 p.m. at the first Congregational Church.