The contract for more than two thousand union nurses and technicians at Rhode Island Hospital has been extended through the end of July while the two sides continue negotiations. Union organizers have authorized a strike, although it hasn’t come to that yet.
The United Nurses and Allied Professionals union claims Rhode Island Hospital is asking for unfair benefit and wage reductions while paying executives millions. That’s one message from the union’s campaign to paint the hospital as dismissive of frontline caregivers at the expense of patient care.
It’s a complaint other unions have lodged during previous contract negotiations.
But Rhode Island hospital officials say they’re trying to make responsible financial decisions in the face of impending payment cuts from government insurers and changing patient needs. And they say patient care will not be affected if a strike is called.
Rhode Island Hospital’s finances have improved slightly in recent years, thanks to an uptick in the market and an increasing number of patients with health insurance.