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Queen’s, nurses’ union resume contract talks with staffing, wage issues at center of debate

The Queen's Medical Center
The Queen's Medical Center(Jonathan Saupe)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:17 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Queen’s Medical Center and the Hawaii Nurses’ Association, returning to the bargaining table Thursday, are publicly expressing similar views on a fundamental issue: staffing.

The current contract for 1,600 nurses runs to the end of the month, and wage issues, left for last in most labor negotiations, aren’t settled yet, but staffing is an equally important issue for nurses.

“Our requests are reasonable: support for burned out nurses, a sufficient number of nurses to avoid compromising patient care, and competitive wages,” said HNA President Daniel Ross.

Ross said Queen’s has covered staff gaps with overtime and freelance nurses, called travel nurses, brought in from the mainland. The union proposes that for every travel nurse hired, an entry level also be hired, and trained for the same work.

Queen’s replied Wednesday by basically agreeing that more local hiring would be good.

“While we appreciate our traveling nurses’ support during this challenging time for all hospitals across the nation, we share HNA’s perspective that the best path forward is to reduce the use of travelers by hiring full-time, local staff,” said Queen’s Director of Corporate Communications Cedric Yamanaka.

The two statements do not guarantee agreement on details, but suggest a shared outlook on the matter.

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