SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Nurses picketed outside the dedication of the new wings of Baystate Medical Center Tuesday.
Nurses from the Baystate Franklin Medical Center and the Baystate Visiting Nurses Association protested on Springfield Street as the dedication of Baystate's new addition was going on.
The protestors say that the hospital is trying to negotiate outside of the union. "It comes down to collective bargaining rights," said Joseph Twarog, Associate Director of the Division of Labor Action. "We're very flexible on negotiating with them, but we need collective bargaining rights and they want to take that way."
Jane Albert from Baystate Health Systems told 22News that the protesting workers only represent a small portion of Baystate's 10,000 employees. "After very long negotiations, Baystate made the decision to declare an impasse in negotiations, and what that means is that we have the opportunity to engage in the contract and offer our employees what they deserve. Which is: an increase in benefits, the choice benefits which are better benefits for them, and some other issues and opportunities that were on the table," Albert said.
Baystate's $269 million expansion was built by union construction workers.