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Berkshire Medical Center Nurses Allege 'Unsafe Staffing Levels'

Nurses at Berkshire Medical Center rally at the Pittsfield, MA hospital in December 2014.
Jim Levulis
Nurses at Berkshire Medical Center rally at the Pittsfield, MA hospital in December 2014.

Update at 1:15 Thursday: The Massachusetts Nurses Association has canceled Thursday's rally due to the winter storm in Pittsfield.

Despite the winter storm, nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are planning a rally in Pittsfield today over what they say are unsafe staffing levels at the hospital. WAMC spoke with Amber VanBramer, a registered nurse at BMC who is a member of the bargaining committee for the Massachusetts Nurses Association at the hospital. The union represents all of the roughly 800 registered nurses at Berkshire Medical Center.

The nurses are planning a rally at 4 p.m. today at Park Square in downtown Pittsfield. The Massachusetts Nurses Association says the next negotiating session with Berkshire Medical Center is set for February 14. 

Berkshire Health Systems, the parent company of BMC, released this statement in response to the planned rally.

“Every three years, like clockwork, the MNA holds events similar to the one planned for tomorrow. Additionally, BMC is not unique in this type of attack. Every hospital with an MNA contingent goes through the same thing during contract negotiations, and faces the same false accusations. In the past few years alone there were so-called patient safety rallies by the MNA against Baystate Noble Hospital, Brigham and Women’s in Boston, Newton-Wellesley, Morton Hospital in Taunton and St. Vincent’s in Worcester. This is a tactic used to try and advance the MNA’s political agenda and nothing more. Berkshire Medical Center is ranked among the safest hospitals in the nation by independent organizations that analyze publicly available data on patient safety. This includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Leapfrog Group, Healthgrades, the American Heart Association and many others. We are proud of the exceptional care our staff provides our community.” 

BMC nurses and the MNA held a similar rally in December 2014

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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