Members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) Local 5098 will hold an informational picket at Rhode Island Hospital this Thursday, July 9, in response to Lifespan's ongoing attempt to reduce compensation and benefits of frontline caregivers, while paying its top executives millions of dollars a year.
UNAP represents roughly 2,300 nurses, therapists, technologists and other allied professionals at the hospital. The current, four-year agreement expired on June 30. UNAP members are now working under an agreed upon one-month extension.
Lifespan is seeking to cut its contribution to the retirement security of union employees -- a move which would result in the loss of thousands of dollars to a member’s retirement. The hospital wants to make dramatic changes to the union's health coverage, and is proposing a pay freeze until July, 2016.
According to the latest available IRS 990 filings, Lifespan paid its top five executives and officers more than $12 million in 2012.
The union has agreed to at least four more negotiating sessions in July and will continue to work towards a fair and equitable contract that respects the work, sacrifice and commitment of its members, UNAP Local 5098 President Helene Macedo said today.
"For years, frontline caregivers have been asked to do more with less while the hospital spent lavishly on high-priced public relations campaigns; millions in salaries for top executives, and on other misplaced priorities," Macedo said. "It's time for Lifespan to stop shortchanging healthcare professionals and invest in patient care again," she added.
Macedo said UNAP members have authorized the contract negotiating committee to issue a ten day strike notice to Rhode Island Hospital, in the event an equitable agreement cannot be reached.
"Delivering 'health, with care' isn't just a talking point for us, it's something we do every day. We remain committed to providing the best medical care in the world, but we won't sit idly by while wealthy corporate executives line their own pockets at the expense of dedicated healthcare professionals," Macedo said.
UNAP will begin a media campaign this week calling attention to Lifespan's ongoing efforts to disrespect and devalue frontline caregivers. The 60 second commercial, which may be seen here, will air on cable television and the Internet.