Providence, RI - The United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) delivered a petition today to Lifespan officials with more than 2,000 signatures, calling on Lifespan to prioritize patient care and treat the nurses and health professionals at Rhode Island Hospital with the same respect as their counterparts at other Lifespan Hospitals.
“Rhode Island Hospital is Rhode Island’s only Level 1 Trauma Hospital, and the nurses and health professionals here are on the front lines caring for Rhode Island residents,” stated Frank Sims, RN, President of RIH UNAP Local 5098. “We provide a critical component of patient care in Rhode Island, yet during this unprecedented health crisis, Lifespan seems to have forgotten about us. While the nurses at Miriam Hospital and Newport Hospital are being recognized for their front line service with appropriate compensation increases during this crisis, Lifespan has refused to do the same for Rhode Island Hospital nurses. This comes at a time when nursing shortages throughout the country have left nurse-to-patient staffing ratios at dangerous levels.”
Sims concluded, “The workload created by the COVID Pandemic has pushed the Rhode Island health care system to its very brink. Without the selfless efforts and sacrifices of our nurses and health professionals statewide, we wouldn’t have been able to offer the outstanding care that Rhode Islander’s have been receiving during the Pandemic. This is not the time Lifespan should be prioritizing one set of nurses and health professionals over another. It is time to treat all nurses and health professionals with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The petition language is below:
UNAP Members Petitioning Lifespan
The UNAP Contract Allows Wage Scale Adjustments
Our contract allows Lifespan to increase salary scales based on labor market conditions. Lifespan has in fact used this provision of the contract several times over the years to increase wages of certain job classifications when the market conditions required it.
Article 30.7 of the collective bargaining agreement states:
“It is understood that employee salary levels are minimums and may be increased by the Hospital to reflect marketplace conditions after notice and upon requested discussion with the Union.”
What this language means is that the Union and the Hospital agreed all the wage scales in the contract are minimums and that if marketplace conditions (such as a healthcare worker shortage) change to require an increase, all Lifespan has to do is notify and discuss with the UNAP the wage increases – and then simply make the increases. Needless to say, the Hospital is not going to use the above quoted, already bargained over language to increase UNAP members wages despite problems in hiring and retaining workers & despite marketplace conditions requiring an increase in wages at RIH.
The following 2,004 UNAP signatures are petitioning Lifespan to “follow the contract & make the necessary market adjustments.”
[Signers names are not included in this document in the interest of privacy.]