UNAP ratifies 3-year contract with CharterCARE

MEMBERS OF THE United Nurses and Allied Professionals have voted to ratify new contracts for workers at Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center and Prospect CharterCARE Home Health and Hospice. / COURTESY OUR LADY OF FATIMA HOSPITAL

PROVIDENCE – Health care workers at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, and CharterCARE Home Health Services have voted to ratify three-year contracts with Prospect CharterCare.

Members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, representing 667 employees, voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of the contracts earlier this week, according to the union.

The new contracts started on Dec. 1, 2022, and will run through Nov. 30, 2025.

“The healthcare workers who serve patients at CharterCARE facilities work extremely hard in difficult circumstances, and we are pleased that they now have a contract that recognizes their sacrifices,” said Chris Callaci, general counsel at UNAP. “This agreement provides our healthcare workers with job security, substantial wage increases, and vastly improved working conditions. We believe this contract will help retain and attract qualified nurses today and into the future.”

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Otis Brown, spokesperson for CharterCARE, said the organization is “pleased” about the reached agreements.

“The quality of care we provide at our hospitals and across CharterCARE is due in large part to the talent and commitment of all our workers,” said Otis Brown, spokesperson for UNAP. “These agreements recognize the exceptional work they do every day, provide competitive wages and benefits to union employees, and allow management to sustain operations in a challenging environment. We look forward to a collaborative working relationship with UNAP and its members to strengthen CharterCARE’s quality and safety record and high standard of patient care.”

CharterCARE owns several hospitals and health centers in Rhode Island,  including Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, Southern New England Rehabilitation Center, Blackstone Valley Surgicare, and CharterCARE Medical Associates.

Workers represented by UNAP had expressed frustration in the past weeks over the existing contracts, asking for better wages, benefits and working conditions. On Nov. 3, the union held an informational picket at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital to draw attention to the issue.

“We bargained hard for this contract because we believe all healthcare workers should be treated with respect and dignity – and this contract is a big step in the right direction,” Callaci said.

CharterCARE’s parent company Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. recently announced it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Atlanta-based nonprofit The Centurion Foundation to sell CharterCARE’s operations and assets.

Under the agreement, Centurion will purchase assets and operations associated with: Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence, Blackstone Valley Surgicare in Johnston, CharterCARE Medical Associates in Providence, Home Health Services in Providence, Roger Williams Cancer Center in Providence, Southern New England Rehabilitation Center in North Providence and St. Joseph Health & Dental Center in Providence.

Centurion will also purchase CharterCARE’s related business, real estate assets, physician clinic operations outpatient services and turn CharterCARE Health Partners into a nonprofit health system.

The purchase is subject to approval by the R.I. Department of Health and the R.I. Office of the Attorney General. The change-in-control application process is expected to be submitted to those state agencies before the end of 2022.

UNAP, which represents approximately 850 employees at Prospect’s Rhode Island hospitals, said previously they will be “intimately involved” in the potential sale, as it will have a “significant impact” on the health care community.

“As we have always done, we will closely vet this transaction to make sure any new owner or operator of these health care facilities will provide quality care for patients and proper working conditions for the health care workers who serve them,” read the statement issue by UNAP.

“The UNAP is adamant that any buyer of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, and Prospect Home Health must be willing to put health care first and be a true community partner – someone who is willing to invest in the workforce, the hospitals and our community,” added UNAP. “Prospect Medical Holdings came in and tried to suck every last nickel out of our hospitals in the interest of making a bigger profit for shareholders. Our health care workers, patients and community members deserve better than that, and as a union we will do everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com. 

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