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The nurses will not go on strike for a second time.

Strike Averted: Hospital, Nurses Union Reach Agreement

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The registered 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 Association chapter settled on a five-year deal. That agreement needs to be ratified by a vote of the full 800 union members.
"We are incredibly proud of this agreement that reflects our priority of improving nurse staffing and patient care," said Alex Neary, co-chair of the union's bargaining unit.
"Berkshire Medical Center nurses care deeply about our patients and our community. We owe our success in reaching this agreement to powerful unity among nurses and our community."
The nurses had planned to go on strike Monday. That would have been the second strike since contract negotiations began in 2016. 
"From the beginning of contract negotiations 45 sessions and 21 months ago, Berkshire Medical Center has sought an agreement with its registered nurses that was fair and reasonable for them and sustainable for the hospital and the community. We are pleased to report that after three marathon sessions on June 12, 13 and 14, the hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association have reached just such an agreement," wrote BMC spokesman Michael Leary in a statement released in the early hours of Friday morning.
"Having this contract finally settled is, of course, great news for the entire Berkshire community and all hospital employees. We appreciate the solid support that we received from our community and our employees during these challenging months. With the distraction and divisiveness of strike threats now gone, we look forward to returning our focus solely to delivering the high-quality patient care that our community rightly expects of us."
The last contract expired in September 2016 and the two sides have been working toward a deal since. The new contract will run from Oct. 1, 2016, until Sept. 30, 2021. 
The two struggled to come to an agreement regarding staffing, which became the major obstacle to an agreement. The union has pushed for additional language to guarantee that there are enough nurses on at all times. The hospital has been hesitant about that, feeling the language proferred by the MNA was too restrictive. The two sides came to terms on other issues such as wages and health insurance but the staffing pieced continued to be a central point of disagreement.
According to the union, language was settled Thursday night that will keep charge nurses free of assignments, require the hospital to add additional nurses to a few specific units, will not "diminish the current staffing grids" and will require the hospital to post and recruit for unfilled jobs. The agreement also provides regular wage improvements.
In October, the nurses went on a one-day strike that was followed by a four-day lockout by the hospital. The nurses had issued another strike notice in February but withdrew it at the last minute as progress was seemingly made. After multiple negotiation sessions since, no settlement had been reached and the union again re-issued its notice for a one-day strike that had been planned for Monday, June 18.
With an agreement finally reached, Monday's strike has been called off. 
Ongoing Coverage
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BMC Registered Nurses Plan to Strike Again

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.

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BMC Nursing Unit Offers Compromise on Biggest Contract...

The union nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have completed a review of the hospital's proposed changes to health insurance and said they can live with it. But, they say there is still work to be done on the staffing issue. The local Massachusetts Nurses Association chapter and the hospital has been in contract negotiations for a year and a half. The last contract expired in September of 2016 and negotiations have been ongoing since. Last October, the nurses held a one-day strike which was f

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BMC Nurses Call Off Strike

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.

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Talks Continue Between BMC, Nurses; 2nd Strike...

January 08, 2018 | 03:35PM

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.

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Who Withdrew?: MNA Mixes Up Labor Board Complaints

October 18, 2017 | 02:16AM

The Massachusetts Nursing Association has withdrawn one of the multiple unfair labor practice charges it filed against Berkshire Medical Center. In July, the registered nurses' union filed a charge against a new absentee policy the hospital's administration had established. The claim was that there was a modification to the contract because the new policy was not negotiated. The union said the hospital broadened the circumstances around absences for discipline.

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Striking Nurses Get Support From Other Labor Unions

The striking nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are finding support from other labor unions.

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Nurses Association Rallies In North Adams Over Lockout

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.

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BMC Management Focusing On Inside While Nurses Strike Outside

The unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are certainly making their voices known this week, as they picket outside of the hospital.

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BMC Nurses Strike; Picket Hospital

Nurses at Berkshire Medical Center went 36 years without a labor strike. But that was until Tuesday. The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nursing Association took to the picket line on Tuesday after a year of contract negotiations have seemingly hit a wall. The union and supporters gathered just outside of the property line, forming two lines and holding signs, awaiting the nurses ending their shift at 7 a.m. to walk through.

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BMC Nurses Hold Vigil Prior To Strike

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.


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BMC Administration: Patient Care Will Be Unobstructed By 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.

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Judge Denies BMC's Request To Halt Strike

A federal judge has denied Berkshire Medical Center's request for a temporary injunction to halt the one-day strike planned by the nursing union. The hospital had filed an emergency motion requesting the federal courts to put a stop to the strike. The hospital alleged that the union did not follow the proper grievance process as outlined in the contract. On Friday, Judge Mark G. Mastroianni denied that emergency request.

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BMC Asks Court To Halt Nurses Union Strike

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.

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Registered Nurses Notify BMC of One-Day Strike

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.

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BMC Files Unfair Labor Practice Complaint Against...

The hospital has fired back at the MNA with its own complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Berkshire Health Systems has filed a complaint alleging that the nursing union is not bargaining in good faith, and even "surface bargaining" - a term used to describe bargaining without trying to actually reach a settlement.

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BMC Nurses Release Contents Of 'Unsafe Staffing' Reports

After hitting a stalemate in negotiations, the nursing union has released 437 "unsafe staffing forms," which document specific instances when nurses felt they needed more help. The local chapter of the Massachusetts Nursing Association, representing unioned nurses at Berkshire Medical Center, have been negotiations with Berkshire Health Systems on a new contract. Particularly, the nurses say they hope to a contractual agreement to bolster staffing. But, months ago the hospital had already put

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BMC Nurses Looking to Trustees to Help Contract Negotiations

BMC nurses are now making a pitch to get the hospital's Board of Trustees on their side. The Massachusetts Nurses Association has been in challenging contract negotiations with the hospital. After what call a fairly unproductive negotiating session on Tuesday, the nurses are attempting to meet with members of the Board of Trustees.

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Nurses File Second Unfair Labor Practices Against BMC

The nurses at BMC have filed a second complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against hospital administrators. The nurses are accusing Berkshire Medical Center leaderships, particularly Vice President of Human Resources Arthur Milano, of denying them information they deem is needed to negotiation health insurance. The nurses asked detailed financials surrounding the hospital's health insurance offer during negotiations.

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BMC Nurses: No Resolution Found In Latest Bargaining Session

Another negotiation session concluded Monday and nurses say little progress has been made toward a resolution. Mark Brodeur sits on the bargaining committee and on Monday night he said hospital officials rejected the change put forth by the nurses to leave charge nurses unassigned. The nurses have been trying to push for what they call "safe staffing" in the negotiations and contractually binding the hospital to provide what they see is adequate staff.

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BMC Nurses Take Second Step Toward Strike

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.

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BMC Nurses Give Bargaining Committee Authority to Call Strike

The registered nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are willing to strike over contract negotiations for what they say is chronic understaffing.

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BMC, Nurses Return to Bargaining as Strike Hangs Over Head

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.

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BMC Nurses Reject Hospital's 'Best and Final' Offer

The nurses at Berkshire Medical Center have rejected the hospital's "best and final offer." The union put the hospital's offer to a member vote on Wednesday and the nurses rejected the offer.

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BMC, Nurses Remain at Odds During Contract Negotiations

Berkshire Medical Center has presented what it says will be its "best and final offer" to settle a contract with the nursing union. A letter sent out by President David Phelps and Chief Operating Officer Diane Kelly was released on Wednesday outlining the hospital's offer. The Massachusetts Nurses Association and BMC have been at an impasse as the two sides try to negotiate a new three-year contract. The current one expired in September.

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Nurses Picket BMC As Staffing Issues Hold Up Collective Bargaining

Nurses and supporters paced back and forth along North Street and Wahconah, holding signs, chanting "if we're out here, something is wrong in there." On the otherside of those walls, the administration is reviewing data showing Berkshire Medical Center ranking in the top when it comes to patient safety and preparing a forum to celebrate those numbers with employees. Outside, the nurses chant that the staffing levels are unsafe. Inside, a staffing office is reviewing the personnel on hand to m


Tags: BMC,   contract negotiations,   MNA,   strike,   

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