Wilcox Hospital, Nurses Reach Tentative Deal

Clyde Hayashi
Clyde Hayashi
Some Kauai nurses recently protested on Oahu
Some Kauai nurses recently protested on Oahu

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LIHUE, Kauai (KHNL) - After 18 weeks on the picket lines, striking Kauai nurses could be back to work soon.

Wilcox Hospital and union leaders struck a deal late Tuesday afternoon.

Both sides negotiated for nearly two hours.

"Well the hospital is thrilled that we've reached an agreement, we're hopeful the nurses will vote to ratify the contract we've come up with," said Lani Yukimura, hospital spokeswoman.

Hospital administrators aren't releasing details, but say the contract addresses all of the nurses' concerns. Since they walked off the job in June, their main issue has been staffing. The nurses say there's not enough of them to go around, to ensure proper patient care.

A group of the nurses even traveled to Oahu two weeks ago. They stood outside two Honolulu hospitals, passing out flyers until they were kicked off property. But in their most recent meeting with hospital officials last week, both sides reported making progress.

The Hawaii Nurses Association says it feels good about the proposed contract and is hopeful the nurses give it the green light.

The nurses are expected to vote on this new contract on Thursday.

A majority vote is needed.

If approved, the nurses would start heading back to work on Nov. 4.