UNAP, R.I. Hospital discuss joint staffing/equipment committee, talks resume Aug. 15

UNAP LOCAL 5098 and Rhode Island Hospital are discussing a joint committee on staffing and equipment at the hospital as contract talks continue. / COURTESY RHODE ISLAND HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE — United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5098 at Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan Corp. ended Wednesday’s contract talks with an informal plan to create a joint labor/management committee on staffing, equipment and supplies, in a session hospital leadership characterized as productive.

No tentative agreement was reached, though Lifespan Corp. stated that Rhode Island Hospital, ‘accepted the proposal in full,” making the announcement at 11 p.m. Wednesday, about six hours after the parties began their meeting. Discussions, which are being conducted under the guidance of a federal mediator, resume Aug. 15.

The union has also announced an informational picket Aug. 15 outside the campus of The Miriam Hospital from 2 to 4 p.m. Ray Sullivan, spokesman for the union, said that progress was made, but there’s more work ahead. Sullivan declined to comment on the joint committee proposal. When asked why the picketing will occur at The Miriam Hospital instead of Rhode Island Hospital, Sullivan said the union’s complaints of inadequate staffing and resources is a problem throughout the Lifespan system. The picketing Aug. 15 is meant to call attention to that, he said.

Frank Sim, UNAP Local 5098 president, said the union will continue efforts to remedy unsafe staffing levels, high turnover, lack of resources and the economic security of its members as negotiations proceed.

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“I remain hopeful that we will win a fair and competitive deal that is worthy of the skill and sacrifice of our members. There are still a number of issues to address in this contract, and we are committed to seeing them through,” Sim said.

The hospital presented the union with a restructured agreement that continues to include wage increases and a generous benefits package for all nurses and technical staff, according to Lifespan.

“Rhode Island Hospital is committed to supporting, retaining and recruiting nursing and allied health professionals by providing competitive wages and benefits, as well as providing a safe and stable work environment,” the hospital said in a statement.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.