Baystate Franklin Nurses: Patient Care Is Controlled By A Corporation, Not Health Professionals
Nurses at Baystate Franklin medical center in Massachusetts are fighting to win a new labor contract following an unprecedented pre-emptive lockout of nurses. A bargaining session was held Friday but got nowhere and no new sessions are scheduled. At issue is not just labor issues for nurses but who controls patient care. At Baystate Franklin it’s a corporation, not doctors and nurses.
Joe Markman is Associate Communications Director for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Nurses concerned over safe patient care are hitting a corporate wall of resistance when it comes to safe nurse to patient ratios.
[Joe Markman]: “The hospital has really failed to bargain in good faith. They have failed to provide information that the nurses have requested – information they’re legally obligated to provide. They’ve failed to bargain over mandatory subjects, like a nurse’s workload and the staffing situation, health insurance for nurses. Those are the two top issues for the nurses. And the parent company, Baystate Health has just refused to negotiate over those.”
The nurses have been trying to reach a new labor agreement since last Fall. So they called a one day strike June 26th. Baystate pulled a pre-emptive lockout – barring the nurses from coming to work June 25th into June 28th. Markman says what’s happening to these nurses at Baystate Franklin Medical Center is a result of healthcare being in the hands of corporations rather than in the hands of medical professionals.
[Joe Markman]: “Healthcare has really become a corporation-based model. And the focus really turns to maintaining certain profit margins and having enough profit – even though they’re a non-profit. A lot of the executive make high six or seven figure salaries. There’s a special retirement account for high-paid executives within the Baystate Health System. So money is going toward things like that – even though its a non-profit – and that money should really be going back in and be reinvested into the nurses, staff and patient care.”