GREENFIELD, Mass., April 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The more than 200 registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have issued a 10-day informational picket notice, alerting the hospital to a public event on April 27 at which nurses and community supporters will advocate for a fair contract that protects patients and respects nurses.
What: Baystate Franklin Medical Center RN Informational Picket
When: Thursday, April 27 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Outside BFMC at 164 High St. in Greenfield, MA
"Nurses will join with the community on April 27 to show Baystate we are united for safe patient care," said Donna Stern, a psychiatric RN and chair of the BFMC RN Bargaining Committee. "Nurses are being pushed beyond our ability to safely care for our patients. If we have too many patients at one time, how can we provide high-quality care? If we work 12 hours without a break or are forced into illegal, mandatory overtime, how can we be sure our patients are getting the best possible care?"
Nursing schedules recently issued by Baystate management demonstrate that on a regular basis the hospital is not scheduling enough nurses to provide safe patient care. Over a six-week period, from February 26 to April 8, the hospital left at least five RN shifts open on the schedule 50 percent of the time on just one medical-surgical unit. On 14 days of 42 days, there were six open shifts and on two days there were seven open shifts.
"The hospital is failing to provide core nurse staffing from the very start when it issues schedules," said Jillian Sicard, RN and junior co-chair of the BFMC RN Bargaining Committee who works on the medical-surgical unit. "The hospital is scrambling to try and fill many open shifts, or is leaving them unfilled, to the detriment of patient care. Baystate forces unsafe patient assignments and unsafe working conditions on nurses. We cannot provide the high quality care our patients deserve when we have too many patients at one time, are fatigued and undernourished because we must work through our breaks, and are being mandated to work overtime despite a state law against it."
For example, on March 10 the hospital did not schedule nurses to work seven of the 27 shifts that day on the medical-surgical unit, meaning 26 percent of the nurse shifts necessary for core staffing – for maintaining safe patient care – were not filled by management when it made the schedule.
For a copy of the nurse schedules, contact Joe Markman at 781-571-8175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BFMC nurses have been bargaining with Baystate since November 2016. In recent weeks, nurses voted 93 percent to authorize a one-day strike, filed six unfair labor practice charges against Baystate with the National Labor Relations Board and participated in several community events. Bargaining is over a new contract to replace the agreement that was scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2016. There have been 16 sessions held to date. A federal mediator joined the bargaining process in February.
Key outstanding issues include safe patient limits for nurses targeted to BFMC patient needs, security improvements and making sure Baystate does not erode nurses' health insurance benefits and working conditions.
Contact Joe Markman at 781-571-8175 or email@example.com for a copy of the NLRB charges, scheduling documentation, state Department of Public Health mandatory overtime reports or dozens of text messages from BFMC management requesting nurses come to work when they were scheduled to be off because of staffing shortages.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.
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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association