Monday, June 04, 2012 • 6:47 AM Post a Comment

Democrats Back Baystate Nurses

posted by Maureen Turner

While the big news was, of course, Elizabeth Warren’s sewing up the party’s Senate nomination (boxing out her would-be primary challenger Marisa DeFranco), that wasn’t the only thing going on at the Democratic convention that took place in Springfield this weekend.

Among other developments: delegates passed a non-binding resolution supporting union nurses at Baystate Health, who’ve been involved in drawn-out and tense contract negotiations with hospital management for months.

“Baystate Health, the largest health care system in western Massachusetts and based here in Springfield,” read the resolution, “has a documented history of anti-union behavior, has been found by the National Labor Relations Board to have violated federal labor law, and has consistently opposed workers’ right to organize,” including trying to strip nurses at its visiting nurse and hospice programs and at Baystate Franklin Medical Center of their collective bargaining rights.

The resolution, which refers to pro-union language in the state party platform (“the best way to grow the middle class and promote economic equality is to encourage collective bargaining and increased unionization”), calls on the healthcare company to “respect the right to organize and bargain collectively and to honor union nurses’ right to bargain over wages and health care.”

After contract negotiations stalled earlier this year, the nurses and their supporters have pressed management in a number of public settings, including picketing at the grand opening of Baystate’s new $296 million wing in February.

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