PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Women & Infants Hospital caregivers voted “no confidence” in their employer amid “ongoing unresolved grievances, disrespect and short staffing,” according to the union that represents the majority of the hospital’s employees.
Dozens of caregivers with SEIU 1199 NE picketed outside Women & Infants Tuesday morning to demand action from Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital group.
“We made the decision to vote no confidence because we are sick and tired of working short day in and day out and having our concerns brushed to the side,” Women & Infants nursing assistant Regina Brown said. “I used to stay late because I loved caring for my patients. Now I stay late because we are working short every day. If they don’t get me help, I am responsible for up to 29 patients.”
The caregivers described the number of unresolved grievances as “historic,” adding that the staffing crisis at the hospital is “dire.”
There has also been “an ongoing lack of clear, respectful communication” between the hospital’s employees and Care New England, according to the union.
“We want management to hear our concerns and respect our union rights. We want them to work with us to resolve our grievances so we can do what we do best, focus on patient care,” registered nurse Cassie White said. “We are determined to have our voice heard and will continue pushing until management gives its staff and patients the respect we deserve.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Care New England said Women & Infants, “is committed to creating a welcoming, safe, collaborative and respectful environment for all team members.”
“We do not tolerate acts of aggression, threats or abuse in any form,” the statement reads. “We all have a common mission of providing superior patient care in a supportive, compassionate environment.”
The spokesperson encouraged employees to speak up “anytime they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.”