By Richard Asinof
WESTERLY – Two unions representing about 400 workers at Westerly Hospital have reached an agreement with Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., which has offered a bid of $69 million to purchase Westerly Hospital.
Local 5075 and Local 5104 of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals voted 161-18 to ratify the labor pact on Aug. 2, according to union officials. The agreement is scheduled to run through June of 2014 and is conditional on the sale of Westerly Hospital to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.
Lawrence & Memorial Hospital is currently the sole bidder for Westerly Hospital, which has been in receivership since December of 2011. A sales hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28 before Washington Superior Court Judge Brian Stern in Wakefield, when the judge may decide to approve the sale.
If Stern decides in favor of the purchase, the deal would then need to be approved by state regulators under the newly changed Hospital Conversions Act. Under the new law, two nonprofit hospitals can seek an expedited review of the sale if one of the hospitals is deemed financially stressed.