PROVIDENCE — The nurses at Roger Williams Medical Center voted Tuesday to join the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, the state’s largest health care union.
The nurses voted by a 2-1 margin in favor of joining the union. Polls closed at 4 p.m. The vote adds about 220 new union members, according to spokesman Brad Dufault.
“The 2-1 margin of victory indicates deep dissatisfaction with Prospect CharterCare’s management,” said Lynn Blais, UNAP’s president. “This victory comes on the heels of hundreds of other CharterCare employees who have voted to join the UNAP over the last few years.”
CharterCARE, which operates Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence, is owned and managed by Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical Holdings.
Blais said the two for-profit hospitals are up for sale, but Otis Brown, a spokesperson for system, has not answered inquiries from the Globe on the matter in weeks.
Brown said the hospital pledges to “negotiate a fair and equitable contract for employees and our hospital.”
“As we seek to finalize a contract agreement with our nurses, our mutual commitment to make quality care for our patients a daily priority will be maintained and strengthened. We look forward to positive collaboration with the nurses’ new union,” said Brown.
But Blais said the union will fight to ensure that “no sale is approved without collective bargaining agreements in effect for all CharterCare employees.”
UNAP represents more than 7,000 health care workers across Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont. The union has often gone after claims of unsafe working conditions at Fatima Hospital, where Blais said leadership took months to follow safe-staffing requirements.
Blais said the union will help the nurses at Roger Williams negotiate better working conditions, safer staffing ratios, and enhanced job security, wages, and benefits. The union will hold an election to elect leaders at the local level within the “next few months.”
“Nurses and other health professionals are facing historic challenges, with the pandemic taking a toll on the healthcare workforce and creating massive staffing shortages that have reverberated throughout the whole system,” Blais said. “Our union is proud to not only advocate for healthcare workers, but also for the betterment of our entire healthcare infrastructure.”