Westerly Hospital contract approved

Westerly — More than 400 members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals at The Westerly Hospital have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year contract that restores many of the benefit concessions workers lost while the hospital was in receivership.

“This is a fair and reasonable contract that recognizes the hard work and commitment to quality patient care that has long been the hallmark of UNAP health professionals,” Barbara Resnick, UNAP field representative, said in a news release. “We are pleased that the members voted overwhelmingly to support the agreement, and look forward to working together with the administration to strengthen the critical services this hospital provides to the community.”

There are two UNAP locals at Westerly Hospital. Local 5075 represents roughly 200 nurses and allied professionals, while local 5104 represents around 220 service, maintenance and skilled maintenance employees. Members voted on Monday.

The Westerly Hospital filed for receivership in December 2011. During receivership, some staff was laid off, others had hours reduced or schedules changed. Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London acquired it in 2013. The current, one-year contract was set to expire on June 30 and was negotiated prior to the purchase.

“Our members made significant concessions to keep this hospital open and meeting the needs of the community we are all proud to be a part of. It’s appropriate to see that loyalty and commitment respected with this contract,” said Jackie Desmond, president of Local 5075.

Judy Lawrence, president of Local 5104, said the new contract was negotiated in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

“We’ve enjoyed a good working relationship with the Lawrence and Memorial leadership, and are hopeful to see it grow as the hospital continues its rebuilding efforts,” she said.

UNAP is a regional health care union representing nearly 6,500 nurses, technologists, therapists, support staff, and other health care workers employed in Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut.

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