GREENFIELD — About 100 unionized nurses and their supporters walked a picket line around the whole of Baystate Franklin Medical Center Monday, one day after management locked out the Massachusetts Nurses Association in anticipation of a previously announced one-day strike.
More than 200 nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center have been negotiating with Springfield-based Baystate Health since November. They have been without a contract since Jan. 1.
Baystate Franklin, Franklin County’s only hospital and primary health-care facility, remained open with replacement traveling nurses, said hospital president Cindy Russo. Baystate Franklin doctors performed their full schedule of operations and procedures and even added one procedure to the schedule, she said.
All told, between the lockout and the strike, temporary nurses will care for patients at the 90-bed hospital until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28. They started at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Baystate Health spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett said the hospital is required to guarantee the temporary nurses, hired through a professional staffing agency, three days of work.
Outdoors, emergency room nurse and union negotiator Suzanne Love said a woman she recognized from the ER dropped off a case of water to the picket line command post on High Street.
Love is the union representative for the emergency room and is on the negotiating committee.
“We would like to have fair staffing. We would like to have a fair health health insurance plan that is not a 26 percent increase over what we were paying previously and we would like a fair compensation in terms of time off,” she said.
She said nurses have previously earned time of in three categories: holiday, vacation and sick. Baystate wants to count all paid time off in one bucket, she said.
The nurses are also calling for Baystate to hire more nurses and increase staffing, saying there is too much forced overtime.
Baystate’s Russo counters that the hospital needs flexibility to move staff and change personnel allotments depending on patent headcounts and how sick those folks are.
Baystate said 83 percent of the overtime worked at the close of a 12-hour shift is less than one hour and 59 percent of all overtime worked at the end of any shict is less than one hour.
Baystate calculates that only 14 of about 240 nurses worked 40 hours a week last year for a total of 2,080 hours.
Baystate Franklin has an average base pay for a nurse at the Greenfield hospital is $40.88 per hour, according to the hospital. The union has said most nurses work between 24 and 32 hours a week.
Russo said the union’s position is part of a statewide push to force hospitals to hire more nurses. The MNA is planning a strike against Tufts Medical Center including 1,200 nurses and is negotiations with both Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and with this same Baystate Health at its Baystate Noble hospital in Westfield.
Rallies are scheduled outside Baystate Franklin Medical Center at noon and 5 p.m. Monday.