PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — The registered nurses of Berkshire Medical Center (BMC), represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted overwhelmingly on November 1 to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with the hospital. The new contract includes a 3% wage increase for all nurses. Wages have gone up 15% in the past four years.
The contract also adds more requirements nurses must meet before they are moved to a different unit. Nurse union representatives say the new agreement will help address staffing shortages and add important protections for how nurses provide care.
“Our new MNA contract represents important progress toward addressing the increasingly critical staffing, recruitment and retention problems our nurses and patients have faced in recent years,” said Alex Neary, a critical care nurse at BMC and Co-Chair of the BMC MNA Bargaining Committee. “We are also committed as MNA nurses to enforce our contract and make sure the improvements we have secured make a real difference for our patients and in our work life.”
“We are extremely proud of all the ways BMC nurses have worked together during these negotiations to get a strong contract,” said Gerri Jakacky, a nurse who works in pre-anesthesia services at BMC and Co-Chair of the BMC MNA Bargaining Committee. “We also appreciate that the process of bargaining with BMC’s management and legal team was more respectful during this negotiation cycle. Hopefully this mutual respect will continue as we work to make nursing practices and patient care safer every day.”
Bargainers said BMC nurses won this contract by working together as nurses and with the community. Nurses participated in member meetings, signed petitions, attended a community forum and standouts, and participated during in-person negotiations. A representative for the MNA said the solidarity of MNA and BMC member nurses was essential to securing the agreement.
A spokesperson for Berkshire Medical Center did not immediately return NEWS10’s request for comment.