More than 200 nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center are on strike after almost a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations with the hospital.
"This is the first time in our history that we've had to go on strike," said co-chair of the MNA bargaining unit, Linda Judd. "But this is too important to not bring it to the public's attention. We are fighting to keep a strong voice at our hospitals"
"What I hope comes out of today is that they get the message that we are very serious about wanting to settle a fair and equitable contract," said co-chair of the MNA bargaining unit, Donna Stern.
And although outside the hospital nurses are taking to the picket lines, inside officials are working hard to keep business running as usual.
"We have changed a few things," said the President of Baystate Regional Markets, Chuck Gijanto. "For the Ors, for example, we have staff available for emergency surgeries. We postponed and rescheduled all of the elective surgeries, same thing with endoscopy and our ICU is closed today."
Nurses from other Baystate facilities are filling in the gaps throughout the 24-hour-strike.
"I think that if you're a patient in this hospital today you'd have no idea that there is a strike going on outside," Gijanto said.
To date there have been 28 negotiation sessions. CBS 3 asked both sides what it will take to come to an agreement and end these negotiations.
"They need to take the overtime off of the table, leave the contract intact," Judd said.
"At the last session we put a compromise on the table. And, I believe that we are going to need to compromise to settle this. I don't think that just saying no is going to get us anywhere," Gijanto said.
The nurses plan to continue their strike until 7 Saturday morning. The next negotiating session is scheduled for Oct. 25.
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