Rhode Island hospital workers begin 3-day strike

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

Unionized healthcare workers at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence began a three-day strike July 23, according to a Providence Journal report.

The nurses and other healthcare professionals, who are represented by United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5098, have been in negotiations with Lifespan, the hospitals' parent system. Workers began picketing about 3 p.m.

"This is a difficult day for all of us. Every member who walks the picket line understands what’s at stake for themselves, their families and their patients," Frank Sims, RN, president of UNAP Local 5098, told the Providence Journal. "Lifespan is a broken system where wealthy executives make millions and frontline caregivers are ordered to do more with less, and until that changes, patient care will continue to be adversely impacted."

Wages have been a key sticking point in negotiations. When both sides returned to the bargaining table July 23 per an order from a federal mediator, "the union rejected a restructured proposal from the hospital that included generous wage increases ranging from 9 [percent] to 25 percent over four years," Lifespan spokesperson David Levesque told the Providence Journal.

"Instead, UNAP leadership submitted wage increases of up to 28 percent and added significant additional economic proposals that rendered their offer simply unrealistic," Mr. Levesque said.

Lifespan is paying $10 million to bring in temporary workers and will not allow unionized hospital workers to return to their jobs until July 27 due to its minimum commitment to the temporary staff.

Read more about the strike here.

 

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