[From a press release]
Staff at Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC) who have been fighting for quality care and living wage for workers during contract workers issued a strike notice to management.
The strike notice comes after workers at BVCHC voted to go on strike last week.
“We work hard to provide exceptional care to our patients. But low wages cause workplace frustrations and high turnover, which could mean longer wait times for patients,” said Nissa Slachek, a Registered Nurse. “We don’t want to strike, but if that’s what we have to do to make management hear us, then we will.”
Given the recent closure of Memorial Hospital, it is critical that the health care jobs that remain in Pawtucket and Central Falls are good paying jobs.
Staff at the Providence Community Health Center earn on average almost 14 percent more than their counterparts at BVCHC. Besides wages and healthcare, the parties are at odds over several other issues. Among them, the company wants the right to mandate certain staff change their schedules to work evenings and weekends with only two weeks’ notice, which could create significant childcare and eldercare concerns.
While management tried to claim there is not money to provide good raises to everyone, address healthcare costs, or other issues, BVCHC CEO Ray LaVoie was given a 30 percent raise according to the most recent publicly available filings.
The strike will be on February 20th, 2019 in both the Central Falls and Pawtucket locations.
District 1199 SEIU New England is comprised of 29,000 members in Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which is highly active in the growing #Fightfor15 and a Union movement.