Maine hospital workers call for CEO's firing

Unionized employees of Calais (Maine) Regional Hospital are calling for the termination of CEO Rod Boula. 

"Because we are members of the Maine State Nurses Association, we are the hospital employees who have the most protection to speak up to protect our patients and this hospital that we love," begins a petition sent to the hospital board of directors, hospital board of trustees and the Calais City Council on Oct. 28.

Union members said they have no confidence in Mr. Boula's leadership ability to guide the hospital.

The no-confidence petition, signed by 84 percent of unionized Calais Regional staff and 17 percent of the total hospital staff, outlines what brought about the union's conclusion, including issues related to the hospital's bankruptcy filing in September 2019. Union members said they do not know of a plan to exit the bankruptcy, and employees have not received an update on the health of the hospital from the hospital administration in months.

Unionized workers also contend in the petition that Calais Regional has not wisely spent money and spent more than $8,000 per bargaining session with the registered nurses/ medical lab scientists, despite the union offering to continue the previous contract. Additionally, they accuse the hospital of only sporadically negotiating with technical employees, not always paying employees' insurance bills in a timely manner and forcing certain employees to work back-to-back shifts without enough rest to safely travel to and from work. 

"We have concluded that one person is responsible for these problems in our hospital, our workplace and in our community," the petition states. "As the CEO, Rod Boula is the one who has ultimately made the decisions that have put us in this current situation, despite him blaming many other people and circumstances for his own failure at his job."

The hospital acknowledged receipt of the letter in a statement shared with Becker's and maintained that the hospital has negotiated in good faith with the Maine State Nurses Association to obtain a contract and offered numerous dates to meet with union members, only to be met with "lackluster response." The RN/medical lab scientist bargaining unit began negotiations in 2018, and the bargaining unit of technical workers organized more than one year ago. 

"The hospital is actively working on many of the issues that the union members state need to be addressed," the hospital's statement said. "Sadly, in many instances the union does not share our vision or agree with our solution. However, CRH administration will continue to speak up for our patients and work for the best interests of our staff as a whole."

Calais Regional said it wants to address concerns of staff and the needs of the community, while remaining aware of the current healthcare environment and is acting to improve performance by balancing access, improving quality and reducing cost.   

Regarding Mr. Boula's performance, hospital board chair Ron McAlpine and hospital board vice chair Everett Libby said in a statement: "Rod Boula is doing what he was hired to do." 

"Why would the board want to fire an individual that is doing their job?' If it hadn't been for his efforts, there would have been a very good chance that the hospital would have had to close its doors two years ago." 


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