Rhode Island healthcare workers reject Lifespan's latest contract offer

Healthcare workers at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence have rejected the latest contract offer from the hospitals' parent company, according to a WPRI report.

Nurses and other healthcare workers, who are represented by United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5098, voted down the three-year offer from Lifespan July 19.

"There were no good or easy choices … but there was a right one," UNAP Local 5098 President Frank Sims told WPRI.

The hospital expressed disappointment about the vote, but said it was prepared if both sides do not reach a deal and workers strike as planned beginning July 23.

"Rhode Island Hospital is fully prepared for this possible work action," Rhode Island Hospital spokesperson Christina O'Reilly told WPRI. "Patient care is our highest priority. We will have highly trained and skilled nurses and technicians in place to assist us in meeting our commitment to our patients."

To bring in those temporary workers, Lifespan paid $10 million to a temp agency, and that money came out of the wage offer in its final proposal to workers, Lifespan said.

Wages have been an issue of contention during negotiations. Hospital officials said they most recently offered raises from 6 percent to 19.75 percent over the life of the contract, as well as "generous" nondeductible health coverage and a 6 percent 401(k) match, according to the report. On behalf of workers, the union most recently proposed 12 percent across-the-board pay increases over the contract duration.

A  strike is set to begin at 3 p.m. July 23 and end at 3 p.m. July 26. However, Lifespan has said unionized workers won't be able to return to their jobs until 3 p.m. July 27 due to its minimum commitment to the temporary staff.


More articles on human capital and risk:
$10M spent on temp staff for strike next week, Lifespan says
New York hospitals reach tentative deal with state's biggest healthcare union
UVM Medical Center, union urged to reach accord

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