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Nurses stage one-day strike after stalemated contract talks

October 03, 2017 07:18 PM

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Nurses walked out of Berkshire Medical Center Tuesday morning.

They say they're striking is over proposed health insurance changes and safe staffing levels. They say they need more nurses to take care of patients.

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This will be a 24-hour strike, then the nurses will attempt to head back to work Wednesday. However, they might be locked out because the hospital has hired nurses to cover for them.

NewsChannel 13's media partners at The Berkshire Eagle report the company the hospital is using requires a minimum five-day contract.

The hospital is spending $4 million to stay staffed during the strike.

This is the Massachusetts Nurses Association's third strike of the year in the state. Nurses were also striking at BMC's Hillcrest campus and its North Adams campus on Tuesday.

These nurses are worried about their patients.

"It's stressful," admitted Leilani Hoover, who has been working at Berkshire Medical Center for three years. "We're worried. I work in the ICU. We've got some pretty sick people. Twelve hours at the bedside with your patient and now I have to hand that over to a stranger – someone I have no idea what their qualifications are."

"We are walking out because of safety," explained Carol Marchegiani, a registered nurse for 43 years. "We can't possibly take care of patients if we don't have enough staff and no matter what you do, safety is the big issue."

The hospital said in a statement that the union chose to go on strike to support their statewide political agenda.

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WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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