United Nurses & Allied Professionals Local 5098 issued a 10-day strike notice on Friday to Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s hospitals and plan to strike starting July 23, according to a press release from the union.
Healthcare professionals with the union plan to strike for three days, ending at 3 p.m. on July 26 with an unconditional agreement to return to work. UNAP Local 5098 represents 2,400 healthcare workers at the two Lifespan facilities, according to the release.
Lifespan owns both Rhode Island and Hasbro Children’s hospitals and is the state’s largest hospital system.
“We do not take this step lightly and urge Lifespan executives to return to the bargaining table as quickly as possible so that a fair and competitive deal may be reached,” Local union president Frank Sims said in the press release.
— UNAP (@WeAreUNAP) July 13, 2018
Rhode Island Hospital issued a statement in response to the strike notice to “assure” state residents that “Rhode Island Hospital is fully prepared for this possible work action.”
“Patient care is our highest priority,” the statement reads. “In the event of a strike, we will have contract labor to assist us in meeting our commitment to our patients and our community.”
UNAP Local 5098 issued the strike notice as a result of last Thursday’s rejection of a contract proposal between the union and Lifespan.
In the rejection statement, Sims said unions members rejected a deal that “devalues the critical role they play in providing world-class healthcare at Rhode Island’s only Level I trauma hospital.”
“Lifespan’s short-sighted and punitive policies on everything from safe staffing to sick time have a direct correlation to the remarkably high turnover rate we experience at Rhode Island Hospital,” Sims said. “Health professionals are leaving at unprecedented rates because Lifespan fails to give caregivers the tools we need to do our jobs and offers a compensation and benefit package that is not fair to all healthcare workers.”
Union nurses and technical staff at Rhode Island Hospital are among the highest compensated in the state, according to the hospital website.
Currently, UNAP members with 10 years of experience or less are guaranteed 3.5 or 4 percent annual salary increases as part of the hospital’s compensation program. In the rejected proposal, the hospital planned to add another 3.5 percent in the first year of the contract, 2.25 percent in the second year and two percent in the third year.
The hospital brought in a federal mediator to help reach a potential agreement before the strike date, according to their statement.
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