“We don’t take this step lightly and we realize what’s at stake for each other, our patients and the community we are proudly a part of,” said Cindy Fenchel, president of UNAP Local 5100. “It’s time for Prospect CharterCARE to come to the table and make substantive commitments on improving patient care and strengthening worker safety. If those commitments are not forthcoming, we will issue the strike notice and do whatever is necessary to improve the failing conditions inside Fatima Hospital.”
Members of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) Local 5110 at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital overwhlemingly voted on Tuesday to authorize its’ bargaining team to issue a 10-day strike notice to the hospital, if necessary.
On Wednesday UNAP members staged an informational picket in the freezing cold to express their concerns.
UNAP Local 5100 represents more than 400 certified nursing assistants, secretaries, phlebotomists, environmental workers, kitchen workers, laundry workers and other support staff at Fatima Hospital. The bargaining unit is working under a two-year contract that expired January 31, 2019.
Since 2016, UNAP members have filed 150 incident reports with the hospital — 50 of which had to do with physical assault of employees. The union asked Prospect CharterCARE for copies of the reports, but they refused to release them, forcing the union to file a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). That charge is currently under investigation by the NLRB, and a decision is forthcoming.
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Fatima Hospital has seen a 60 percent increase in employee injuries involving patient movement between 2015 and 2016. The union has asked for the most up-to-date information, but Prospect ChaterCARE has refused to provide it, again prompting another investigation from the NLRB.
UNAP members are frustrated by an untenable and often dangerous work environment, and as a result, 24 percent of the staff turned over in 2018. “It’s creating chaos. I’ve worked at this hospital for more than 40 years and I’ve never seen morale this low. We need Prospect to start caring about Fatima the way the workers do, because we are more than just a money-making opportunity for its shareholders,” said Fenchel.
[From a press release]