GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The Massachusetts Nurses Association is locked in a contract dispute with Baystate Franklin Medical Center that could put those nurses on the picket line.
The union that represents the hospital's nurses wants daily overtime to remain in place.
The hospital wants to eliminate that, and instead, pay overtime only to those full-time nurses who work more than 40 hours a week.
According to Baystate Franklin Medical Center, they've been losing about $4-million dollars a year, and have to make tough decisions in order to tackle the financial challenges.
They blame healthcare reform for resulting in reduced payments to hospitals and doctors.
According to the hospital, the nurses union is also at odds with the hospital over insurance costs and wage increases.
A media release posted on the union's website argues that the Baystate Franklin nurses would lose the ability to negotiate wage increases and claim it was hospital management that walked away from the negotiating table.
Baystate Franklin says they offered the nurses a 2% raise and that middle of road salary for a nurse at the hospital is just under $79,000.
Because of the contract dispute, the nurses union voted to authorize a strike.
If a strike does take place, the union is required to notify the hospital 10 days before that happens.
The hospital says they're being forced to come up with a contingency plan for a staffing emergency that would not compromise patient care, although the didn't mention exactly what that would entail.
Negotiations between the two sides will continue in September.