Union rally calls for state ARPA funds to save Kent Hospital
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — A group of union members from Kent Hospital rallied in front of the facility Wednesday afternoon, urging state officials to use pandemic-relief funding to save the hospital
“The hospital doesn’t have the finances to invest in new technology and invest in the workforce then it’s not going to be able to succeed,” said Jack Callaci, Kent Hospital union representative. “So, we need them to succeed, and they need us to succeed.”
Callaci told ABC 6 News that Care New England — that overlooks Kent, Butler, and Women and Infants hospitals — has requested about $48 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“They’ve been here for the community for two years, risking their lives before the vaccine, remember that? They’ve put their lives on the line. Now, they need our community and political leaders to be here for Care New England and for Kent,” he explained.
A proposed merger between Care New England and Lifespan was denied back in February. Officials from both companies said the move would better position the future of healthcare in Rhode Island after the pandemic.
“We’re perfect prey for any for-profit to come along and just take over,” said union president, Trich Criner. “That would be the worst thing for Kent Hospital. That would be the worst thing for these workers, and it would be the worst thing for this community.”