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Baystate Franklin Medical Center Nurses Seeking Arbitration over Longstanding Overtime Dispute

Monday, September, 9, 2013


 

Nurses who work for a hospital in Greenfield, Massachusetts have agreed to take their nearly two-year contractual dispute to arbitration; however, the hospital, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, has not agreed to the plan.  

 

Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s president, Chuck Gijanto, stated that the intent of arbitration is both surprising and disappointing, and that the best way for everyone to reach an agreement on the contract terms is to openly negotiate it through standard bargaining measures.  According to Gijanto, “We do not believe that it’s in anyone’s best interests to have an outside arbitrator, who doesn’t know the community and may not understand all the issues in play, come in to decide a complex local issue for our nurses, our hospital and the people of Franklin County.”

 

The two sides have been working with a mediator that was federally appointed to mediate the longstanding dispute, but so far, mediation has been unsuccessful.  In total, the two sides have met 38 times within the past two years in an attempt to reach a resolution. 

 

The particular points of contention that remain are whether nurses would be paid overtime for any hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day, rather than receiving overtime only after having worked over 40 hours a week.  The nurses support the former, while the hospital supports the latter, which would be a change from how overtime has previously been calculated. 

 

Linda Judd, a nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the local nurses union, states, “We are confident in the reasonableness of our position, but in any event, we are willing to live with a neutral arbitrator’s ruling in order to bring negotiations to a conclusion.”