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Westerly hospital unions reach tentative agreement

By Judy Benson

Publication: theday.com

Published March 14. 2014 2:00PM   Updated March 15. 2014 12:14AM

Westerly — The Westerly Hospital and both locals of The United Nurses & Allied Professionals have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year collective bargaining agreement effective July 1.

There are two UNAP locals at the hospital. Local 5075 represents the approximately 200 nurses and allied professionals. Local 5104 represents the approximately 220 service, maintenance and skilled maintenance employees.

“This is a significant step,” Barbara Resnick, UNAP field representative, said in a news release Friday. “The agreement provides a fair economic package for our members. More importantly, it allows our focus to be where it should be — providing the best patient care in our community.”

Bruce Cummings, president and chief executive officer of L+M Healthcare, the parent company of The Westerly Hospital, said the agreement “provides another level of stability to the Westerly community.”

The presidents of both unions said the tentative agreement “gives something back” to the employees who made concessions to help keep the hospital open after it was in receivership and L+M was negotiating the purchase, said Jackie Desmond, president of the nurses and allied professionals union. Her counterpart at Local 5104, Judy Lawrence, said the unions have had a good relationship with L+M since the takeover and that the contact negotiations took place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

A ratification vote of the full union membership will be held March 24. The UNAP executive board approved the agreement this week.

The current contract, which was negotiated prior to the acquisition of Westerly Hospital by L+M Healthcare, expires June 30. It was a one-year agreement. Both parties agreed to withhold any specific details about the agreement until after the ratification vote.

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