209 Greenfield Nurses Give Their Elected Leaders Power to Call a Strike

The 209 nurses at the Greenfield hospital voted October 15 to authorize a strike. That means their elected representatives in the union have the power to call a strike. The nurses went on strike last year (see photo, below).

“One day last week I had to work until 10 p.m. I start at 7 a.m.,” Linda Judd told the Valley Post on October 17. She is a nurse at the hospital. “They don't let you leave until you finish all your paperwork.” Workers in the U.S. literally died in the fight for the eight hour day, and the 40 hour workweek. Before that victory, workers usually worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. The story of this struggle is told in the non-fiction book “There Is Power in a Union,” published by Random House in 2011.

Donna Stern is also a nurse at the hospital. "Our country has been taken over by corporations,” she told the Valley Post on October 17. “Our democracy has been hijacked. To take it back, we need to start local.” The Greenfield hospital, long locally owned, was bought by a major corporation that pays its CEO some $2 million a year, Stern said. “I'm struggling to pay my student loans,” she said.

“We are chronically under staffed and over worked,” Stern said. “All the studies by major medical journals show that under staffing is bad for patients' health. We have been negotiating a new contract for two years. We are making no progress. The company wants to get rid of our union.”

The nurses have a web site: www.MassNurses.org.

The below photo was taken during the October 2012 strike by the nurses at the Greenfield hospital. To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” Photo used by permission of MassNurses.org.

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