Nurses plan to strike at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – A local nurses’ union is planning a strike over stalled contract talks, in the coming week.

Nearly 800 nurses will be marching these sidewalks outside Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) for 24 hours starting Tuesday morning, if they can’t settle their contracts.

“They are not listening to our concerns for our patients, for the community, for our own safety,” said Leilani Hover, a registered nurse at Berkshire Medical Center.

Leilani Hover and Amber Vanbramer are disappointed management at Berkshire Medical Center isn’t taking them seriously.

Since September 2016, they along with hundreds of other registered nurses have been negotiating their contracts, only to be pushed aside.

“It is sad for me to have to come to this point to feel like I could be acknowledged,” said. Amber Vanbramer, BMC registered nurse.

It’s come to the point of a strike.

From seven Tuesday morning to seven Wednesday morning, they plan to march outside the hospital and protest.

“We will do what we need to protect our patients in the end,” Vanbramer said.

What they want is for the hospital to hire more staff, so their patients can get the attention and care they deserve.

“The nurses are having too many patients at times, unable to take appropriate breaks,” Vanbramer said.

But, they say they’re continuing to hit roadblocks both literally and physically.

In recent days the hospital put up this fence around part of the sidewalk.

“It’s a little too convenient for the time,” Vanbramer said.

The nurses feel this was the hospital’s way of trying to stop them from protesting.

But, the Berkshire Medical Center said the fencing is for construction and that they received a permit for it months before the strike was even planned.

Whatever the case, these nurses just want the hospital to hear them out.

“We want them to come back to the table and protect their community like they say they’d like to,” Hover said.

Striking is the last thing they want to do.

“These are our people. These are our family members, so we really want to be here to care for our patients,” Hover said.

The nurses said if they strike Tuesday the hospital plans to lock them out until Sunday morning and would hire temporary workers for the time being.

The Berkshire Medical Center has not returned calls requesting a comment.

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