No deal: Hundreds of Maui County healthcare workers reject latest contract offer

This Wednesday will mark one month since 500 healthcare workers on Maui and Lanai walked off the hospital floor and onto the picket line.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of healthcare workers in Maui County have rejected Maui Health’s latest contract offer.

United Public Workers members say the proposed deal fails to compensate employees at the market rate.

“They’re just continuing to fight. They don’t want to give up. It’s a whole David and Goliath. They want to succeed; they want to show what our value is, what our worth is,” said Maui Memorial Medical Center maintenance worker Leonard Rodrigues Jr.

Wednesday will mark one month since approximately 500 healthcare workers on Maui and Lanai walked off the hospital floor and onto the picket line.

They include nurses, aides, respiratory therapists, housekeepers, cooks, and others at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and Lanai Community Hospital.

They say they won’t return to work until they receive an offer from Maui Health they believe is fair.

The latest offer from Maui Health included a three-year contract, an 8.9% raise the first year, a $1,500 cash bonus, an additional $1,000 bonus for employees with 15 or more years of service, and $500 for employees with seven to 14 years of service. In addition, rotational involuntary overtime.

Rodrigues said UPW members feel it’s still not a liveable wage.

“That percentage that they gave us, the 8.9, it still keeps us below market wages. We can’t make it. We need to have livable wages here,” Rodrigues said.

“We want to make sure that local hands are taking care of our local people, not people who doesn’t understand the culture.”UPW officials say this was the biggest turnout yet, and an “overwhelming number of members voted no.”

The union says Maui Health seems to have ample funds for traveling staff but doesn’t offer the same pay to local families that serve their community.

In a statement, Maui Health officials described the process as “chaotic” and “disruptive and stressful for the Maui Health community — including the more than 100 United Public Workers-represented employees who have chosen to come to work.

”They said UPW leaders have organized “a very negative campaign” against them.

“After four tentative agreements with the UPW bargaining committee, it is unclear where contract discussions go from here. We will continue to seek common ground and attempt to reach an agreement with UPW in good faith. This does not mean, however, that we will necessarily continue to improve our economic proposals,” Maui Health officials said.

They are back at the bargaining table on Thursday.