RNs - Rhode Island

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Nurses angered by Carcieri veto of overtime bill

Associated Press, June 30, 2007 Providence - Gov. Don Carcieri vetoed a bill that would prohibit hospitals from forcing nurses to work overtime, saying it could worsen the state's nursing shortage. The veto Friday left the bill's sponsors angry and disappointed. "I think we're all feeling kind of crushed," Barbara Hunger, a registered nurse at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, told The Providence Journal. "I'm just so upset that he would do something like this," said State Sen. John Tassoni Jr., D-Smithfield, who sponsored the measure in the Senate. Carcieri wrote in his veto message that forced overtime is something that "should be negotiated through the collective-bargaining process." ... Nurses

RI lawmakers consider banning forced overtime for nurses

Ray Henry, Associated Press, February 28, 2007 Providence - Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a ban on mandatory overtime shifts for nurses, creating a conflict between nursing unions who call the shifts dangerous and exhausting and hospitals who say they can't function without it. House lawmakers already have passed a ban, and the Senate Labor Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a similar measure backed by Sen. John Tassoni Jr., a Democratic lawmaker and a union employee. His bill would ban hospitals from forcing nurses who earn hourly wages from caring for patients past their normally scheduled shifts, except as a last resort or in cases of crisis. ... RI

In House vote, nurses win a round

Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal, February 13, 2007 Providence - Despite eleventh-hour warnings about the potential $1.1 million in extra costs to the state, the House yesterday approved a ban on mandatory overtime for nurses at all of the state’s public and private hospitals. The final tally was 64 to 0 for a perennial bill that cleared the House for the first time on the last night of last year’s legislative session and then died for lack of action by the Senate as the ’06 session wound to a frenetic close. ... In

Ban on nurse overtime makes it through committee

Associated Press, February 7, 2007
Providence - A bill that would ban mandatory overtime for nurses was approved unanimously yesterday by a House Committee on Labor. The committee approved the proposal after hearing from two dozen nurses, union leaders and supporters of the ban. They say it is a patient safety issue. Nurses forced to work 12 or even 16-hour shifts are more likely to make errors. Craig Syata, vice president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, is opposed to the measure. He told the committee that forced overtime is rare. The bill is similar to one approved unanimously in the House on the final day of last year's legislative session only to die in the Senate. Representative Raymond Gallison says this bill is different because it gives hospitals more flexibility in dealing with emergencies.

Overtime ban again proposed

Katherine Gregg, Providence Journal, January 26, 2007 Providence - Nurses at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island were pulled back from the brink of a strike last summer by the hope - and implied promise - that state lawmakers would finally take action this year on a bill that has been introduced year after year after year, for more than a decade, to ban “mandatory” overtime for workers at hospitals, except in emergencies. The House passed the mandatory overtime ban, for the first time ever, on the final night of last year’s legislative session; the state Senate did not. ... Overtime

Mandatory OT ban for nurses on table again

Jim Baron, Pawtucket Times, January 25, 2007 Providence - Legislation to ban mandatory overtime for nurses - a bill that seems to crop up at the beginning of every General Assembly session only to be shot down by the end - has once again been introduced in the House and Senate. Painting a picture of exhausted nurses at the end of a 16-hour mandatory double shift possibly making life-or-death medical errors at the expense of their patients, nurses and union leaders joined sympathetic legislators at a Statehouse press conference on Thursday. "It's just not right," said Bernadette Mears-Tavares a nurse on the midnight shift at Hasbro Children's Hospital. ... Mandatory

Landmark nurses’ union ratifies pact

Providence Business News, December 2, 2006 The members of the United Nurses & Allied Professionals, Local 5067, have “overwhelmingly” ratified the UNAP’s tentative 3-year contract with Landmark Medical Center, the union announced last Wednesday. The new agreement – reached Nov. 21, after a marathon negotiating session 16 hours long – will run through Sept. 30, 2009. “Our members stood strong,” said Jan Peso, a nurse and the president of Local 5067. “ ... The hospital proposed to freeze the pension plan and more than double employee contributions for medical insurance and prescription drug coverage,” she said. “They ended up withdrawing on each of those proposals.” ... Landmark

Unions OK Contract At Westerly Hospital

Pensions, Benefits Survive Negotiations. Judy Benson, The Day, November 16, 2006 Westerly - The two unions representing The Westerly Hospital's employees overwhelmingly ratified new three-year contracts Wednesday that preserve their pensions and provide 9 percent wage increases through 2009. “Protecting our pensions was a big deal,” said Sue Partelo, a secretary at the hospital and president of Local 5104, which represents about 240 service and maintenance workers. “The hospital really came after that, but we protected our benefits.” ... Unions

Labor ruling could hurt unions

Arthur Kimball-Stanley, Providence Journal, October 15, 2006 Last week’s decision by the National Labor Relations Board, which ruled that nurses who ran shifts for more than 10 percent of their working hours can be considered supervisors and consequently excluded from collective bargaining rights, has wide-ranging implications for workers across the United States. If managers can redefine an employee’s job description to have more than 10 percent of working hours include supervisory duties they can declare large swaths of America’s unionized employees ineligible for collective bargaining rights and keep many non-unionized workers from ever organizing. ... Labor

Landmark, nurses close deal on 2-week contract extension

But the president of the hospital nurses' union says the sides are "miles apart on our proposals." Cynthia Needham, Providence Journal, September 30, 2006 Woonsocket - Officials at Landmark Medical Center yesterday reached a two-week contract extension agreement with hospital nurses whose contract was set to expire tonight at midnight. Yesterday's deal came at the end of another day of negotiations, in which a federal mediator was called in to try and settle the parties' differences. "In the spirit of good-faith negotiations, we wanted additional time to negotiate," Landmark's Chief Administrative Officer Richard Charest said of the settlement. But late yesterday, Jan Peso, president of the Northern Rhode Island United Nurses & Allied Professionals, Local 5067, continued to describe the situation as "pretty grim." ... Landmark

Landmark, nurses extend contract temporarily while talks continue

Associated Press, September 30, 2006 Woonsocket - Unable to agree on union contract proposals, Landmark Medical Center officials and the hospital's nurses extended for two weeks the current contract, set to expire Saturday, while they continue talks. "In the spirit of good-faith negotiations, we wanted additional time to negotiate," said Landmark's Chief Administrative Officer Richard Charest. Jan Peso, president of the Northern Rhode Island United Nurses & Allied Professionals, Local 5067, said the union agreed to the extension because it wanted to protect its members' benefits under the current contract. But other than that, the situation is grim, she said. ... Landmark

Memorial Hospital to resume services after strike is averted

Associated Press, September 3, 2006 Pawtucket - Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island is restoring its services after a union strike was avoided over the weekend, but officials said full operations will only resume in 10 to 14 days. The hospital had reduced the number of patients from 120 to 40 when nurses and other union members threatened to go on strike if contract talks failed. The hospital had also laid off several employees and discontinued rehabilitation services including occupational, physical and speech therapies. ... Memorial

Memorial Hospital UNAP settles contract

United Nurses & Allied Professionals, September 1, 2006 Today members of the Memorial Hospital UNAP met throughout the day to debate and vote on two issues:

  1. Whether to accept the Hospital's final offer or reject it and strike
  2. Whether an 80% majority should be required to authorize a strike

Our members voted 159 to 158 to reject the final offer and strike. They also voted in favor of requiring an 80% majority to authorize a strike. Since 51% voted (ie, less than 80%) to reject the final offer and strike, the Hospital’s latest offer has been accepted.

The Memorial Hospital UNAP Local 5082 and the Memorial Hospital of RI met through the night last night. At about 5:00 AM, the Hospital modified the final offer that it had insisted it would not modify for the last three weeks. The modification came with respect to wages. Contrary to the Hospital’s position that many employees would lose their raises this year, no employee will lose their raise this year.

Because, however, the Hospital has failed to address the mandatory overtime issue in a meaningful way at the bargaining table, we are going to make Memorial Hospital the ‘poster child’ for why we need the General Assembly to pass legislation banning mandatory overtime.

With these negotiations as a backdrop, Senator John Tassoni and Representative Raymond Gallison, at a recent press conference, said they would be pre-filing mandatory overtime legislation this legislative session provided that they are re-elected. The UNAP and the Memorial Hospital local are committed to continuing the fight to end mandatory overtime.

Talks continue in bid to avert Memorial Hospital strike

John Castellucci, Providence Journal, August 31, 2006 Pawtucket - As a 7 AM Saturday strike deadline approaches, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and its unionized nurses were meeting this evening with a federal mediator in an effort to reach an agreement that would avert a walkout. Union representative Christopher Callaci was not hopeful this afternoon. "But look, it's members who are going to make that decision, certainly not me," said Callaci, who is the field representative for United Nurses & Allied Professionals, Local 5082. Throughout the day tomorrow, union members will be voting on the final decision as to whether they'll walk off the job early Saturday morning, Callaci said. ... Talks

Memorial nurses' union, hospital still far apart as strike deadline nears

John Castellucci, Providence Journal, August 30, 2006 Pawtucket - As a weekend strike deadline approaches, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and its nurses are no closer to an agreement that would avert a walkout by unionized employees. There have been two federal mediation sessions since the union set a 7 AM Saturday strike deadline. Despite them, negotiators for the hospital and nurses remain far apart on several key issues, including mandatory overtime. ... Memorial

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