Care New England hospital workers picket over pay, benefits

Employees at Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I., part of Providence, R.I.-based Care New England, advocated for what they consider a fair contract during an informational picket this week, according to a WLNE report.

The workers, represented by United Nurses and Allied Professionals, are negotiating their first contract with management. They want "a pay and benefits contract comparable to the one the 800 other [union] members are working under," the report states.

Care New England expressed disappointment in a statement emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

The "informational picket ... ignores the reality facing both Kent Hospital and Care New England. It is no secret we have been experiencing significant financial challenges but everyone has been working extremely hard to implement strategic action plans in an effort to increase volume, promote care retention and develop new strategies that will best help us serve the community," the statement reads.

Hospital officials went on to say management "is not asking for a greater contribution for healthcare benefits" but instead is "seeking increased deductibles when an employee uses facilities outside the system network and a modest premium for continuing to have a spouse on the hospital plan when they have access to health insurance through their own employer."

"Knowing how much is at stake, it would be helpful to know that the union is joining with us in a collaborative effort, rather than engaging in both intentionally distracting and single-minded actions which fail to fully appreciate and recognize both the challenges and opportunities before us," they concluded.

Care New England is in the process of a planned affiliation with Boston-based Partners HealthCare as well as selling its Pawtucket, R.I.-based Memorial Hospital to Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Foundation.


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