Butler Hospital employees picket over benefits, working conditions

Several dozen employees of Butler Hospital represented by the District 1199 SEIU New England union joined supporters to picket the Care New England hospital Wednesday afternoon in protest of what they allege are unfair labor practices by management.Care New England promptly denied the allegations.

In a statement, the union asserted that management is “attempting to deny new workers good union jobs and [is] denying existing workers access to benefits they have earned.” The union further claims that the hospital “has been ignoring the patient safety concerns of frontline staff” and “denying benefits to its workforce in defiance of the collective bargaining agreement.”

Colleen McGovern, a Butler employee, said “we are standing up for patient safety and protecting our good union jobs so that we can protect the high quality of care, staying true to the mission of the hospital.”

Dressed as the Grinch, Jay Drapeau, a union Delegate and worker at Butler Hospital, walks the picket line with fellow workers in front of the Butler campus on Blackstone Boulevard. [The Providence Journal/Bob Breidenbach]

Dressed as the Grinch, Jay Drapeau, a union Delegate and worker at Butler Hospital, walks the picket line with fellow workers in front of the Butler campus on Blackstone Boulevard. [The Providence Journal/Bob Breidenbach]

Added registered nurse Ashley Oullette, “I plan to commit my life’s work and experience to the patients at Butler Hospital. When frontline staff don’t have a seat at the table where management is making decisions on how we provide services to advocate for patients and safety, our hospital is a less safe place.”

In response, Care New England told The Journal that “ensuring the safety of all of our patients, staff and visitors at Butler Hospital is a major priority. In fact, we’ve made a number of recent significant investments to improve safety on the hospital campus, including hiring of new staff, a new property management system, additional surveillance cameras and security doors, and a new visitor center with systems to better screen visitors, among other measures.

“Any claims of unfair labor practices at Butler Hospital are categorically false. As always, we welcome discussions with the employees union about their concerns.”

The union represents nearly 30,000 health-care and service workers in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and says it is the largest union at Care New England.

Read the article here:
https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20191211/butler-hospital-employees-picket-over-benefits-working-conditions

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