The registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against BMC citing management’s months long refusal to provide information necessary to negotiate over health insurance, which is a mandatory subject of bargaining under federal labor law.
Nurses have repeatedly requested data from BMC that the MNA needs to analyze the hospital’s self-insurance rates as part of a proposal to create an additional “employee +” or “employee plus children” health insurance option. BMC has proposed raising nurses’ health insurance rates by 10 percent even as nurses in BMC’s family health insurance plans already pay 40 to 70 percent more than managers. BMC has also refused to consider any plan design, cost sharing, rates or co-payments other than what management first demanded at the beginning of negotiations nearly a year ago.
BMC nurses are seeking a fair contract that foremost protects patient care by ensuring safe levels of nurse staffing. Nurses have filed hundreds of unsafe staffing reports with BMC management in recent months. They have repeatedly detailed their concerns about high RN workload and how that connects to negative impacts on patient care. Another key issue for nurses is quality and affordable health insurance.