The union representing Rhode Island Hospital nurses and other medical professionals has rejected the latest contract proposal from the Lifespan hospital network, owner of the hospital.
``Our focus now is to continue fighting for a fair and reasonable agreement that represents the sacrifice and commitment that front-line caregivers bring to their job every day,’’ said Helene Macedo, president of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5808.
The union’s contract expired on June 30, but the nurses kept negotiating with Lifespan officials. The union has reached out to the federal mediators in an attempt to go back to the table and reopen contract talks.
The union represents 2,300 members at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Union spokesman Ray Sullivan declined to disclose the tally of the rejection vote. Sullivan also declined to speak about what issues separate the two sides, saying the union doesn’t want to ``negotiate in the media.’’
In a statement, Lifespan spokeswoman Beth Bailey said management was ``disappointed’’ to learn of the rejection of contract terms that had been agreed to by the union’s leadership. ``We strongly believe the three-year contract proposal included an extremely fair wage and benefits package,’’ she said.
Union sources said on the condition of anonymity that rank-and-file nurses were upset that the hospital chain management announced a plan to purchase the Victory Place land in the Jewelry District for more than $7 million while asserting in labor negotiations that the hospital was facing difficult economic times.