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At Strike Hearing, BMC Seeks Injunction To Halt Planned Nurses' Strike

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A hearing has been under way since 11 this morning between the Massachusetts Nurses Association and Berkshire Medical Center in U.S. District Court in Springfield as the hospital tries to halt a planned strike next week with a federal injunction. The two groups have been at an impasse over a new contract for a year. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief JD Allen spoke with Berkshire Health Systems Vice President and General Counsel John Rogers about the union’s plans to hold a 24-hour unfair labor practice strike beginning October 3rd

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says the hospital’s allegations are “without merit.” The MNA plans to hold a vigil outside Berkshire Medical Center Monday night at 6 ahead of the strike Tuesday.

"The hospital’s allegation is without merit. Our attorneys are preparing to contest the suit in federal court. In general, by this action, Berkshire Medical Center executives are treating the nurses as if they have no legal right to withhold their labor even for a day. The nurses obviously have the right to protest to advocate for themselves and their patients. The hospital would deprive nurses of their protected voice. This is a continuation of the hospital’s arrogant, ongoing refusal to bargain in good faith, and its refusal to ensure appropriate nurse staffing and safe patient care," MNA Spokersperson Joe Markman says.

If the filing is approved, the MNA could not interfere with hospital operations, and would have to settle contract grievances through arbitration.

BMC contends it made its “best and final offer” in May, and the union hasn’t materially changed its position since.

The MNA – seeking patient care improvements – filed its fourth unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board Wednesday. 

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