By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The recent spate of layoffs at Landmark Medical Center – 31 employees announced on Oct. 30 and 22 employees announced on Nov. 28 – are in violation of the collective bargaining agreement and are being contested, according to Christopher Callaci, general counsel of United Nurses and Allied Professionals.
“The layoffs are ill-advised, harmful to the institution and very harmful to the patients that rely on that hospital for care,” Callaci told Providence Business News.
Callaci said that while he was not surprised that there have been some layoffs, he was surprised “by the frequency and magnitude of the layoffs.”
Callaci said he hopes that Landmark’s special master, Jonathan N. Savage, will “rethink his analysis and recall the employees back to work.” Callaci said the union is moving ahead with the filing of grievances.
There are currently about 1,100 workers at Landmark and its sister facility, the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island in North Smithfield. About half of the employees are union members, according to Callaci.
Callaci said he did not know whether or not Prime Healthcare Services, the current proposed purchaser of Landmark, had been involved in the decision to lay off employees.
“Whatever the interaction between Prime and the special master on this issue, I’m not privy to their communications,” Callaci said. “Regardless of how the decision was made, our opinion is the same: it was ill-advised.”
Bill Fischer, spokesman for the Savage, did not respond to requests for comments on the layoff.
In an unrelated matter, Callaci, who had been in Superior Court Thursday listening to the report of special master W. Mark Russo regarding the status of the sale of Westerly Hospital to L+M Hospital in New London, Conn., said that Russo reported that things were moving smoothly in regard to the expedited review under the state’s Hospital Conversions Act.
“Russo said that the regulatory process was going along nicely,” Callaci said. “There was a request to see more things in order to deem the application complete, and Russo said that it would be relatively easy exercise to get what the regulators want.”