The Berkshire Eagle reports as night fell Wednesday, bargaining teams for Berkshire Medical Center and its registered nurses remained secluded in a downtown Pittsfield hotel, working for a second straight day in a bid to avert a Monday strike.

While a breakthrough remained possible, the hospital was continuing to refine plans to replace its RNs for five days next week.

As of 9 p.m., neither side had reported significant progress in the talks.

After the union issued a strike notice following negotiations June 4, a federal mediator asked both parties to continue bargaining.

They gathered Tuesday for about 10 hours and returned Wednesday.

A sticking point in the talks, which began after the contract lapsed in September 2016, is staffing levels.

The hospital is asking RNs to pay the same premiums as all hospital employees.

Meantime, signs began to go up around the hospital this week reading: "Find your voice. Support and save Berkshire Medical Center."

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