The nurses union and the hospital have tentatively settled on a contract, averting what would have been the second strike.
Bargaining for three consecutive days and stretching late into the night, Berkshire Medical Center and the local Massachusetts Nurses Union chapter settled on a five-year deal. That agreement needs to be ratified by a vote of the full 800 members.
The nurses union has re-issued its plans to strike after lengthy negotiations Monday.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association's Berkshire Medical Center chapter is planning to strike again. The union and the hospital has been attempting to settle a contract for more than a year and a half after the last contract expired in September 2016. In October, the nurses went on a one-day strike which was followed by a four-day lockout.
Robert Malnati, administrator of the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, sent a brief notification late Friday that he had been told the tentative agreement settled on Wednesday had been voted by the paratransit union membership.
The union nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have called off the strike.
After a late night of last-minute negotiations Thursday, the local Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter and BMC's administration opted to withdraw the strike as a contract settlement potentially nears. The nurses were planning on a one-day strike on Tuesday, which likely have been followed by a lockout.
A scheduled strike at the BRTA has been delayed.
BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati issued a notice on Monday saying the paratransit operators have delayed the scheduled strike on Feb. 19. A federal mediator will be meeting with BRTA on Feb. 21 to further discuss the situation.
The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center plan to go on strike for the second time.
The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nurses Association voted to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Some 800 nurses have been in difficult contract negotiations with the hospital for about a year and a half after the last agreement expired in September of 2016.
Members of International Teamsters Local 404 have reportedly voted down the best and final offer during contract negotiations with Paratransit Management of the Berkshires as well as called for a strike.
The local Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter has been at odds with management for nearly a year and a half of contract negotiations. In October, the nurses staged a one-day strike, which was followed by a four-day lockout. The two sides returned to the bargaining table shortly after and still have yet to come to a settlement.
The unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center will be voting again to give the bargaining committee the authority to call a one-day strike.
Berkshire Medical Center management and the hospital's Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter have been at an impasse in negotiations for a year and a half. In October, a one-day strike was held, followed by a four-day lockout when the two sides couldn't reach a settlement.
While much of the action has been taking place in Pittsfield, the registered nurses locked out by Berkshire Medical Center made a point of showing on Thursday that North Adams is affected, too.
Nearly 100 members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and their supporters lined the sidewalk along Hospital Avenue chanting to the police and security presence blocking the driveway to BMC's North County campus.
The nurses will be silent on Tuesday morning when the nurses walk out on the job and head to the picket lines. But, on Monday night, the nurses were filled with songs and speeches as it held a vigil outside of Berkshire Medical Center prior to the start of the strike.
Berkshire Medical Center brass say they've taken proper precautions to make sure patient care is uninterrupted during the strike and subsequent lock out.
"We fully expect that our operations will be as they are any other day. If you are a patient and you need to be here with us or you are scheduled to be here and it is elective, it will be no different than it was any other day," said Berkshire Health Systems President David Phelps during a briefing with the media on Tuesday.
The hospital is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the nurses strike.
Berkshire Medical Center filed for an injunction in federal court, claiming the Massachusetts Nursing Association had not followed contractual obligations prior to calling a strike. The union, however, asserts that the strike is legal and is continued to take to the picket lines on Tuesday.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association delivered a 10-day notice to hospital management on Friday notifying it of the local bargaining unit's intent to hold a one-day unfair labor practice strike beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and running until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have taken the second step toward a strike.
The Massachusetts Nursing Association filed a notification to end the existing agreement. The contract currently in place prohibits a strike and while the contract had an expiration date of September 2016, the duration clauses continued that unless a 30-day notice from either side was made or a new contract was signed, the existing one remained in place.
In the middle of a strike authorization vote and the union filing charges against the hospital with the National Labor Relations Board, the Massachusetts Nursing Association and Berkshire Medical Center return to the bargaining table Thursday in hopes to come to an agreement on a new contract.