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COVID-19

ALL COMMUNICATIONS are listed BELOW the Links:

COVID-related LINKS:

COVID FAQs  REVISED 12/14/2020

COVID Testing for ALL Lifespan Employees  June 22, 2020

N95 Mask with Covid Patient MEMO 

Accrual Cap Memo May 8 2020 

Surgical Mask Guidelines April 22, 2020

Turn to 10:  Lifespan March Net Loss (text and news link). April 22, 2020

Hotel Options for Health Care Workers (posted April 17)

Dormitory Housing (Abbott email)  (posted April 17)

Lifespan COVID Master Policy 27 pages. (posted 4/8)

PPE Covid Lifespan FAQ Part 1   (posted 4/8)

PPE Covid Lifespan FAQ Part 2.  (posted 4/8)

PPE USE for COVID Patient (Dr. Murphy Email April 6)   (posted 4/8)

Lifespan Screening/Attestation Policy   (posted 4/5)

 Lifespan Covid-19 Visitation Policy 3/2020

CDC:  Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE/CDC

Personal/Family Resource Guide (posted 3/27/20)

Managing Stress: Coastline Employee Assistance Program of RI.     https://www.coastlineeap.com

Mandatory  (Involuntary) Call Off Tracking Form:  Use this form to record the hours you were called off & send to the union office. 

RI DLT: TDI & Unemployment Information 

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

COVID Article by Ted Nesi, TIm White

United Way Resource Sheet


May 9, 2020

Dear UNAP Member,

I want to take the time to thank all of you all during these very trying times- the RI citizens are thankful for your hard work and vigilance. I also want to take the time to recognize all of our nurses during this most unusual National Nurses Week. And for all the Moms- please have a safe and happy Mother’s Day.

Here are a few updates surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. Preceptors: As I mentioned in a previous communication, many of you are training co-workers to be able to perform jobs requiring different skill levels. If you are being required to train or “up-skill” a co-worker, please keep track of the dates and hours and contact the Union with that information.
  2. Vacation Cap Increase: RI Hospital is increasing the vacation cap for a couple of months to account for the lack of vacation being taken. Please click on the CAP INCREASE to read the recent communication from  the hospital.  
  3. PPE Update: Recently the State of RI began re-processing our used N-95s, allowing us to increase our capacity and allow for a change in the policy.Please click on N95 Use to read the memo from Drs. Murphy and Mermel. 
     
  4. Field Hospital/Convention Center: At this point, there is no plan to open the Field Hospital at the Convention Center.
     
  5. Employee Health: With so many employees being on quarantine awaiting test results, do not rely upon Employee Health to contact your manager regarding your status in a timely manner. Instead, you should contact your manager anytime there is a change in your status due to a test or awaiting test results.

If there is anything that you need assistance with, please contact one of the numbers below.

In Unity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Contact for Questions or Issues: 

Norman Farias           (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Tues/Wed)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)

William Deware          (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)
Kate Bourgoin            (401) 640-0728  (Mon/Tues/Wed – AMs only)


April 26, 2020

Dear UNAP Members, 

Here are a few updates surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. Preceptors: As many of you are aware, there is quite a bit of cross-training and “up-skilling” happening in the Hospital. Many of you are training co-workers to be able to perform jobs requiring different skill sets. While the Hospital calls this “shadowing”, the Union believes this may actually be precepting. If this is determined to be precepting, members who are training would be entitled to $1.25/hour preceptor pay as in the contract. Therefore, we are asking any of you who are training to please keep a record of the date, time and number of hours you were training/precepting a co-worker. Submit this information to the union office by email – Eileen@unap.org or fax 831-3677.

     
  2. Lifespan’s Finances: Recently Lifespan reported huge operating losses as a result of the coronavirus and preparation. We understand the coronavirus shutdown has negatively impacted everyone in the State financially and we will be working with the Governor’s office, the General Assembly and RI’s federal delegation to see that RI Hospital gets the financial aid it needs. However, as I mentioned publically, Local 5098 members are literally and willingly risking their lives to protect the public, and we will vehemently oppose any staff reduction as a result of the impact of Covid-19. Click HERE to see news coverage on Channel 10. 

     
  3. PPE Update: As the State of Rhode Island recently received a substantial shipment of surgical masks, the Hospital should be moving towards a “one mask per day” burn rate. (click on MASK to read the hospital’s latest guidelines).While the number of N-95 masks is not where it needs to be, the State did receive re-processing equipment which should allow the N-95s to be re-processed in a greater quantity and rate than is currently being utilized. As it stands today, RIH has sufficient ventilators with the capacity for many more. 

     
  4. Field Hospital/Convention Center: There had been plans to officially open the Convention Center Hospital with some Covid-19 patients readying to be discharged, however, for now those plans are on hold. Instead, some units will be deployed to the Convention Center to orient to the surroundings, should the need to open it becomes necessary.

     
  5. Lifespan Employee Covid Relief Fund– Click  on DETAILS for more information and on APPLICATION to apply.

I am proud of all the work you are doing during these trying times; if there is anything that you need assistance with, please contact one of the numbers below.

In Solidarity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Contact one of the numbers below with issues or questions:

Norman Farias           (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Tues/Wed)

Kate Bourgoin            (401) 640-0728  (Mon AM, Tues AM, Wed AM)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)

William Deware          (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)


UPDATE #6

April 17, 2020

Dear UNAP Member, 

Thank you for your continued perseverance during these very uncertain times. Your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed by the citizens of Rhode Island – thank you for all you do.

Below are some updates:

  1. Furloughs– the Union has worked hard to ensure that any furlough of a UNAP member was on a voluntary basis, and that unemployment compensation would be available to each member. If you have been involuntarily furloughed, or are having issues receiving unemployment compensation, please contact the Union at one of the numbers below.
     
  2. Surge Preparation– the Union is working closely with the Hospital to make sure that we are all ready for the seemingly inevitable surge in Covid-19 patients. We are trying to ensure that as people “up-skill” to handle different types of patients or situations, that the proper skill mix and resources are available to everyone. If you have concerns, please contact one of the numbers below.
     
  3. Vacations Schedules– the Hospital is putting out the vacation schedule for the rest of the year with “normal” vacation hour allocations. Please notify the Union if this is not the case.
     
  4. Hotels/Housing– the Hospital has negotiated with several area hotels for discounted rates for those who do not want to return home to their families. Additionally, many professional associations have negotiated discounted hotel fares for their members. Click here for details. The Hospital has also secured free housing at Brown University- click here for details.
     
  5. Tele-Town Hall with Rhode Island’s Federal Delegation– Tomorrow, On Saturday April 18 at 1 pm, UNAP will be hosting a conference call with Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and Representatives Langevin and Cicilline. We will hear from the delegation on various subjects such as the federal stimulus packages, a federal Hazard Pay bill and PPE supplies. If you would like to participate, call  202-228-0808 , and input conference ID#  8870127# (include #).

I know I speak for everyone when I say that our members are the hardest working and most skilled front line care givers in Rhode Island. Stay safe.

In Solidarity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Contact one of the numbers below with issues or questions:

Norman Farias           (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Tues/Wed)

Kate Bourgoin            (401) 640-0728  (Mon AM, Tues AM, Wed AM)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)William Deware          (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)


April 8, 2020

Dear UNAP Member:

As we move closer to the anticipated peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, I want to thank every one of you for your hard work and dedication as we move towards the surge in patients.

Here are a few updates on the issues we have been dealing with the Hospital:

  1. Critical Care Surge Preparation: Members of the Local’s Executive Board have participated in round table discussions with Lifespan leadership about how best to prepare for the surge. As I am sure you know, the situation is very fluid as the Hospital tries to prepare for the influx of Covid-19 patients. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Union at the numbers below and we will direct your question accordingly.
     
  2. PPE Use: There are many questions about PPE use and Lifespan has sent out many communications about PPE use and supplies. Below is NOT a complete list of Lifespan communications, but a few of the more recent communications and policies. Please consult the Lifespan intranet for a complete list. 
     The following links are listed on the UNAP website –RIH-UNAP Covid-19

3. Vacation Schedules: The Union is still working with Lifespan to have them publish the vacation schedule in these uncertain times. Since the Hospital has not yet issued the vacation schedule in a timely manner, the Union will take steps to protect the members’ interests. Specifically, the Union will try and ensure that no one is denied a vacation or loses vacation time due to the vacation cap in the contract. We will provide updates as they occur.

In Unity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Contact one of the numbers below with your questions:

Norman Farias          (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Wed/Thurs)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)

William Deware        (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)


April 5, 2020

Once again I want to thank you all for your hard work and sacrifice during this nationwide crisis. Local 5098 has been in constant discussions with the Hospital administration to try and minimize the effect of this crisis on the members of Local 5098.  Below is an update on several issues the Union has been working on:

  1. Voluntary Furloughs – As you know, in several low-census areas in the Hospital, some members have been offered a voluntary furlough.  The Local has been working hard to ensure that no one was involuntarily furloughed, but if you were forced to go home because of low census in your area or not enough work, and you were not offered the choice to be floated or re-deployed, please contact the Union at one of the numbers below.
  2. Re-Deployment – The Hospital recently sent out a communication about re-deployment.  As this crisis intensifies, many of you are going to be asked to take on roles and work that may have never done before and others will be asked to learn train and learn new skills to help out for the coming wave of patients.  While the Union encourages member to temporarily take on new roles and jobs and learn new skills, please make sure you communicate with your manager if you are not comfortable performing any tasks which are asked of you.

    In its recent communication, the Hospital indicates that you may be required to changes shifts and/or schedules when being re-deployed.  We have urged the Hospital to seek volunteers first. We encourage anyone who was asked by the hospital to change their shift or schedule, and has the flexibility, please do so to help out. If you are forced to change your shift or schedule in violation of the contract, please contact the Union immediately. 
  3. Vacation Schedules – the Hospital has delayed the vacation schedule posting.  They will be sending out the vacations schedules shortly.  However, please be aware that because of the uncertainty of the future and the potential need for staff throughout the summer, the hospital will be reserving the right to re-assess the vacation schedule as the need arises.  The Union is working with the Hospital to make sure that no member will lose vacation hours as a result of any disruption, as well as trying to give everyone the opportunity to take vacation. 
  1. Visitation Policy – the Hospital has updated the visitation policy to the hospital several times over the past week. Please click HERE for the most up-to-date version.  If you believe that the policy is not being applied as it should be, please contact the Union at the numbers below.
  2. Employee Screening – The Hospital will be screening employees as they enter for work. It is our understanding that for now, the screening will be similar to the screening that visitors undergo, we will keep you updated as details emerge. To see the new screening/attestation policy, click HERE.

Thank you all for your dedication and service.  Stay Safe.

In Unity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Union Support:

Norman Farias          (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Wed/Thurs)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)

William Deware        (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)


March 29, 2020

Dear UNAP member,

Once again I want to thank each and every one of you for your dedicated service on the frontlines of our battle against Covid-19.  Below are some updates on some of the issues facing us all:

  1. Supply and Equipment Shortage:   We have been in contact with both Lifespan administration, the Governor’s office  and Senators Reed and Whitehouse concerning the dwindling supplies, including the shortage of N-95s. All entities are working to procure these much needed supplies and UNAP has assisted both the State and the Hospital in trying to track down leads for more supplies. We will provide updates as they occur.  

    In the meantime, please stay informed and check up on the ever changing Hospital guidelines. CDC Guidelines on ‘Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of PPE
  2. Furloughs: The Union has met with Hospital leadership over the issue of furloughs. As it stands today, there should not be any “involuntary” furloughs/call-offs.  All furloughs/call-offs should be voluntary and offered in order of seniority. 
    If you voluntarily take a furlough, you may use vacation, holiday, and sick time or take it unpaid. If you choose to be furloughed without pay, you may collect unemployment, even if only for one day (The State Dept. of Labor has waived the 7 day waiting period for unemployment). Remember, if you take an unpaid furlough for one week or longer, your health insurance will continue for the periods you are out of work, though you will be responsible for your share of the insurance (co-share) – Lifespan will send you a bill at some point in time after your return.

    If you are involuntarily furloughed/called-off, please contact the Union- see numbers below.
  1. Re-Deployment:  When at all possible – members should be offered the opportunity to be re-deployed, rather than furloughed/called-off, to areas around the Hospital that need additional help.  I encourage all of you who are offered re-deployment and do not want to take a call-off, please take the re-deployment.  There are areas around the Hospital that need our help, and we need to support those areas. 
  2. Union Support: The Local has increased the number of liaisons and days they are working, so that you will have a union resource available as much as possible. You may contact one of the four numbers below.
     
  3. Resource Guide: Lifespan has published a resource guide for all employees- it includes childcare services, sitter exchanges, etc.  Take a look here: Personal & Family Resources

Thank you all for unwavering service in these very difficult times, if there is anything the Union can do to ease the burden, please let us know.

In Unity,

Frank Sims, RN, President

Union Support:

Norman Farias          (401) 573-8114   (Mon/Tues)

Sherry-Ann Johnson  (401) 479-9199   (Wed/Thurs)

Sherry Tomasso         (401) 428-3888   (Thurs/Fri)

William Deware        (401) 345-6497   (Thurs)


March 24, 2020

Dear UNAP Local 5098 Member:

I want to take the time to thank you all for your continued hard work and vigilance as the frontline caregivers in Rhode Island’s battle against Covid-19.

As you may have noticed, the census is very low throughout the Hospital as we prepare for what unfortunately appears to be a surge in Covid-19 patients. For the time being, Lifespan will be canceling contract labor (travelers), delaying the start of new employees and not scheduling per diems for these low-census affected areas. Employees may be asked to float or be redeployed to areas such as screening or the command center. However, it also seems that Lifespan may be planning to send home some of the full and part-time employees from the low census areas, without the option of being floated or redeployed. 

Lifespan may use the term “furlough”, but make no mistake- this is a mandatory (Involuntary) call-off. The Union vehemently opposes mandatory call-offs or these so called “furloughs”, and will take all steps to enforce the terms of our contract.

As you know, except for a few “closed units” (see contract Article 22 for a list of closed units), a majority of members cannot be forced to go home – call-offs are voluntary.  Members (except those in closed units) can voluntarily accept a call-off and choose to take vacation or holiday time or take unpaid time off. However, if the member wants to work on that day- he/she must be offered the opportunity to float or redeployed elsewhere.

If you are not offered the opportunity to float elsewhere and told you must go home, this is a violation of our contract, as well as a recent arbitration award. Remember, if you volunteer to go home you are not being involuntarily called-off. We believe some of these “furloughs” will be for a week at a time. 

We will be keeping a record of all union members who are being “furloughed”  and have created the MANDATORY CALL-OFF TRACKING FORM (link in red) for you to complete and send to the union office. We are gathering this information for a grievance against Lifespan. 

Note that If you are “furloughed” (called off involuntarily) for more than one shift, you may be eligible for Unemployment or TDI- please view the Dept. of Labor Fact Sheet. 

I ask that you remain vigilant and safe during these trying times.

In Unity, 

Frank Sims, RN, President

For further assistance and questions, please contact one of our UNAP Liaisons.


 March 18, 2020

Dear UNAP members,

The Union has been working with RI Hospital administration to cover what would happen if an employee needs to miss work.  Please note that the following scenarios are what RI Hospital has in place as of today, 3/18/20.  

As the entire Covid-19 pandemic is a fluid situation, these scenarios could change in the future depending on circumstances.  Further, Local 5098 shall continue to work with RI Hospital to minimize the impact on employees: 

  1. If an employee calls out sick for themselves or to care for a family member for a NON Covid-19 reason- the regular provisions of the contract, law and policies apply  i.e. use of sick time, sick/safe, etc 
  2. If an employee calls out and does not state a reason for the call out, it will be assumed to be sick.  (same policies apply as #1)
  3. If an employee calls out for childcare issues or non-health related issues, the time out will be coded as vacation until the employee’s vacation bank is down to an amount equal to his/her standard weekly hours.  At this point, the employee may use sick time (including Sick Safe leave), continue to use vacation or take unpaid leave. 
     
  4. If an employee is called off and works in an “open” unit (see Article 22 of the contract for a list of Closed units), the provisions of Article 14.10 shall apply.   (the employee may choose to be floated, use vacation/holiday time off or take unpaid time off).
  5. If an employee tests positive for the Covid-19 as a result of direct contact with a positive Covid-19 tested patient, that employee will receive workers compensation benefits.
     
  6. If an employee tests positive for the Covid-19 virus as a result of community exposure, that employee will utilize the sick time (including Sick Safe leave) provisions of the contract.

Additional Information

  1. If you are out of work due to the Covid-19 virus, either yourself or to care for a family member you may be eligible for TDI or TCI.  For more information:  DLT Fact Sheet
  2. If you anticipate being out of work for 5 days or more, whether Covid-19 related or not, please contact the Reed Group in order to start the Leave of Absence (LOA) provision.  Reed Group  (844) 391-6675
  3. Employees who have canceled vacations in the near future may give back their vacation time pursuant to Article 29.12 of the contract, with approval of their manager even if within the 60 day period.
     
  4. A local news station wrote a fairly comprehensive article about the state benefits and Covid-19. Click on COVID-19, by Ted Nesi, Tim White to read.
     
  5. The United Way of RI has put out a one page sheet of resources. 

As mentioned, all the above remains in a fluid state and we will continue to provide information as it becomes available, and as always, Local 5098 will continue to fight to minimize the impact on members due to this nationwide crisis. 

In Unity,

Frank Sims, RN, President