Hawaii Island nurses seek new contract on par with Oahu colleagues
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nurses at Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital on Hawaii Island are demanding a new contract that’s on par with their colleagues on Oahu.
Their former labor agreement with Queen’s Health System management expired Friday at midnight.
The Hawaii Nurses Association, which represents nearly 70 of the facility’s healthcare workers, says they don’t have enough staff and their compensation is far below their counterparts at Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu.
The union contends the Big Island nurses make close to 20% less than those at Punchbowl and aren’t offered the same retirement benefits.
HNA says tensions are at a boiling point, especially after two years of working through the pandemic.
“We don’t want to go on strike,” said HNA president Daniel Ross.
“We want to escalate and put pressure on management, so management does the right thing. Strike is the last thing that we want to happen. Nobody wins in strike, but that’s where the heads are at from the nurses at this point. They’re so frustrated.”
QHS responded in a statement Friday afternoon.
“We are over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has required health care to adapt to meet these unprecedented challenges and we continue to take proactive steps to ensure adequate staffing and quality patient outcomes,” said QHS corporate communications director Cedric Yamanaka.
Yamanaka also added Queen’s is committed to good faith bargaining and talks between the two sides are scheduled to resume next week.
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