Nurses back on the job at Berkshire Medical Center

October 08, 2017 06:18 PM

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – It was a quiet Sunday morning in front of the Berkshire Medical Center with no picket line and the nurses back on the job.

“The emotions were running high,” said registered nurse Barbara Connor. “People were very nervous about what it would be like in there [and] how they'd be treated.”

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Connor is on the bargaining unit for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the union that called a 24-hour strike.

“Our plan was a 24-hour strike. We just wanted to make that point, [and] make the public aware,” she said.

They wanted the public to know they were deadlocked on the terms of their contract with the hospital. The major sticking point was staffing levels. But hospital officials say they've been recognized nationally for patient care.

“We're understaffed and we're you're understaffed, corners get cut and you don't get to do all things that you really should be doing,” Connor said.

On Wednesday morning, the 24 hours were up. Nurses tried to go back to work. But they were locked out until Sunday morning.

Hospital officials didn't return phone calls for comment. The CEO, David Phelps, said earlier this week they liked it better when nurses are inside and not outside.

A hospital spokesperson told NewsChannel 13’s media partners at the Berkshire Eagle they're not focused on negotiations at this time.

Connor says they hope to get back on the negotiating table soon and they're not backing down.

“We're going to try to keep the pressure up and still bring the message to the public and hopefully people will write letters to the editor,” she said.


WNYT Staff

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