With nurses still picketing outside Berkshire Medical Center after a 24-hour strike ended Wednesday morning, leadership says it’s business as usual inside the Pittsfield, Massachusetts hospital.
After a year-long impasse over a new contract, the Massachusetts Nurses Association staged a 24-hour strike at Berkshire Medical Center. The union is calling for patient care improvements.
Nurses were not welcomed back inside Wednesday; replacement nurses are contracted to remain on staff until October 8th.
Berkshire Health Systems CEO David Phelps says despite being notified weeks in advance, the MNA seemed surprised.
“They know it’s impossible for a hospital to provide coverage for a community for a day,” Phelps says. “They keep doing it, and then complain later that their members are locked out. They called the strike, they picked the day and they knew there would be four days added on to it.”
Phelps says the union has been cooperative this week. The only distraction has been the occasional blaring car horn in support of the picketing nurses.
The state Department of Public Health, which is conducting patient surveys this week, says the transition to replace nurses at BMC was properly implemented.