SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News heard from members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association after at least a dozen unionized nurses at Mercy Medical Center will be laid off.

Massachusetts Nurse Association spokesman Joe Markman told 22News 12 of the 380 nurses will be impacted. According to Markman, there used to be as many as 400 nurses in the hospital, and the hospital’s owner, Trinity Health, should be staffing up and not cutting back.

22News spoke with a nurse who works at Mercy who is echoing the same thing.

“We don’t think it’s the time to be laying nurses off or any of the staff. You know that really this is the time to be up-ing our forces. There’s only more of a need now for people and we think that Trinity should be investing in care,” said Aubrey Arpie, Nurse at Mercy Medical Center and Union Representative.

Trinity Health Spokeswoman Mary Orr attributed the layoffs to the COVID-19 pandemic and how healthcare is delivered. Orr said many of the positions being eliminated are currently vacant. You can read the full statement from Orr below:

Health care systems are experiencing unprecedented change and there has been disruption to the industry nationally. The pandemic significantly impacted how care is delivered and traditional hospital services as patient utilization of these services has decreased. Health care has also experienced national and regional staffing shortages, requiring the use of expensive agency labor, coupled with inflationary increases on supplies and other commodities.  

Trinity Health Of New England continues to take action to adapt, working hard over the last two years to stabilize the organization, while also supporting and strengthening ongoing efforts to grow and integrate care and services throughout the region.

In addition, we have announced Trinity Health Of New England will adjust workforce levels and other non-labor expenses to address the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on revenue and the way in which health care is delivered.  The changes are being implemented as part of the health system’s transformation to a stronger Trinity Health Of New England and to ensure our ability to serve communities for the long term.

After a careful and thoughtful analysis, Trinity Health Of New England will reduce positions, many of which are currently vacant. There will be some colleagues who will experience a transition, including severances.  Colleagues whose positions are eliminated will be eligible for a paid notice period, severance pay and health and other benefits through their severance period.

These are difficult and challenging times.  Health care delivery has permanently changed. By adapting now with these necessary adjustments, we can sustain our Mission and continue our tradition of providing safe, high-quality health care services throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts.

Trinity Health Spokeswoman Mary Orr

Laid-off employees will be eligible for severance pay and health benefits through their severance period.