Update: Hawaii Nurses Strike; 2 hospital's settle

  1. Posted at 7:56 a.m., Wednesday, January 8, 2003

    Queen's agreement announced

    The Queen's Medical Center and striking nurses this morning reached a tentative agreement after an 18-hour negotiating session, the nurses' union announced.
    Details of the agreement will be announced at a 10 a.m. press conference by the nurses union.

    Queen's nurses began their strike on Dec. 3.

    January 08, 2003
    Kuakini Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement
    Queen's Nurses Resume Talks Tuesday


    KITV TV-4 News

    HONOLULU -- At about 3 a.m. Tuesday, Kuakini Medical Center and its nurses reached a tentative settlement.

    This came after a 17-hour marathon of negotiations.

    The news spread quickly to those nurses walking the picket lines.

    "We were so elated there was clapping and cheering," nurse Vicky Poland said.

    Out on the line nurses were sporting smiles and mahalo signs.

    Nurses said the past month and half has been tough and they are looking forward to getting off the strike line and back in the hospital.

    Under the agreement, nurses achieved major advances in areas of staffing, retiree benefits and a 20 percent wage increase over three years.

    "Since these were major issues that sent us to the picket lines in the first place, we are proud to recommend ratification to the nurses," nurse negotiator David Haga said.

    The agreement must still be ratified by the full Kuakini membership at a later date. Nurses KITV 4 News spoke with said they are confident the contract will pass.

    "I'm sure everybody has a positve feeling that this will be ratified," Kuakini nurse Lorrie Wong said.

    Queen's Medical Center is scheduled for contract talks Wednesday. However, there are no scheduled negotiations yet this week for Saint Francis Medical Center.

    Posted by Wayne Becker at January 8, 2003 12:10 AM

    Hawaii Nurses Strike Back
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  3. by   sjoe
    An excellent, if small, beginning. Let's hope it is the dawn of a new day for nursing (and patients) in Hawaii. Congratulations to Kuakini and Queen's nurses.
    Last edit by sjoe on Jan 9, '03
  4. by   lee1
    anyone know any more about the particulars of the settlement or new contract???
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    Filed at 11:45 p.m. ET


    HONOLULU (AP) -- Six weeks into a nurses' strike at the state's largest hospital, union leaders Wednesday tentatively accepted a contract offer, though its prospects are uncertain because dissent remains high among the rank-and-file.

    In the deal, union leaders for The Queen's Medical Center nurses accepted major concessions on vacations and other time off that they had fought throughout negotiations.

    The pact includes a 21 percent pay increase over three years, retiree benefits and some restrictions on mandatory overtime -- all victories for the roughly 800 nurses.

    But the compromise on time off -- that nurses must sometimes use vacation days when they are sick -- is hotly contested by nurses, who say it punishes them for catching illnesses from patients. Many say it could keep the contract from being ratified.

    ``Both sides compromised on many issues that were important to each,'' said Lynn Kenton, a spokeswoman for Queen's.

    Union leaders believed minor modifications to the original proposal ``were significant enough to make it palatable for us,'' said Bill Richter, an emergency room nurse and a member of the negotiating committee.

    A ratification vote has not yet been set, but union officials said they expected it within a week.

    Strikes at Queen's, St. Francis and Kuakini medical centers in Honolulu represented one of the biggest health care walkouts in the country this year.

    With Wednesday's agreement, only St. Francis remains without a nurses' settlement.
  6. by   prmenrs
    Thanks, Karen
  7. by   -jt
    <the compromise on time off -- that nurses must sometimes use vacation days when they are sick -- is hotly contested by nurses, who say it punishes them for catching illnesses from patients. Many say it could keep the contract from being ratified.>

    What happened to their sick time? Is the hospital trying to take give-backs by installing one of those damn "PTO plans"? If I had to buy a raise & limits on mandatory ot by giving up sick time & vacation days, Id vote NO, stay on strike, & send them all right back to the drawing board. The hospital needs nurses -- they are in no position to be holding anything over our heads like this. The ball is in our court - supply & demand - and we dont have to settle for less than what we need. However, if those nurses - knowing all the other particulars in the contract, accept it as is, that is their decision to make and I would not second guess them. They know best what is right for themselves.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 10, '03
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    The contract enacts a 21 percent raise and a paid time-off program

    By Lyn Danninger


    Striking nurses outside the Queen's Medical Center gave mixed reviews to a tentative deal between the union and the hospital as details made their way along the picket line yesterday.

    The two sides reached a deal early yesterday, with the Hawaii Nurses Association conceding on one of its primary issues. The three-year pact would provide a 21 percent raise but would enact a paid time-off program -- which nurses adamantly opposed.

    Nurses on the picket line in front of Queen's yesterday afternoon said they were relieved that an agreement had been reached.

    But most also said they were not sure they would vote to ratify it.

    "I'm undecided. I know Queen's has a lot of money," said Kathy Serikaku, a 17-year nurse. "It's not a good contract."

    The sticking point for the nurses remains Queen's paid time-off plan, which would combine a portion of sick leave with paid vacation and holiday time.

    "The PTO is very punitive; it treats us like children," Barbara Wildern said.

    "Once you get the PTO in, it's hard to get out," Lita Malenky said. "We've heard that from nurses at other hospitals that have it."

    Queen's said it needs the program to curb an excessive amount of sick time at the facility.

    Caroldean Kahue, the chief negotiator for Queen's nurses, acknowledged nurses' anger over the issue.

    "The only pitfall in the contract was PTO, but at least there were modifications to it," Kahue said. "PTO has been there from the beginning, and the employer was adamant they were going to get their PTO."

    Modifications to the plan allow nurses who require hospitalization or surgery to access sick days from a bank of hours reserved for extended sick leave rather than from the paid time-off pool, she said.

    Similarly, a nurse caring for a relative with an illness covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would also be exempted for a year from using the PTO bank after using the first 24 hours of PTO time.

    But nurses said they had wanted the same exemptions included for workers' compensation injuries and chronic illness.

    "If you get scabies from a patient, of course you can't come to work," Malenky said. "So why should you have to use vacation for something you caught at work?"

    Kahue hopes other advancements the union made will help take the sting out of the items it could not get.

    "There were improvements in numerous other areas, such as the employer agreeing to retain the current retirement plan," she said.

    "They also agreed on the third year of the agreement to provide medical coverage for retirees. The other thing we were able to secure was language relating to mandatory overtime, whereby there is a cap on hours."

    The hospital also agreed to make use of volunteers and staffing agency nurses before resorting to mandatory overtime.

    Other highlights of the agreement include a 21 percent salary increase over three years -- 8 percent the first year, followed by 6 percent and 7 percent.

    Nurses will also get an additional $1 an hour for every five years employed at the hospital, up to 15 years.

    Nurses with advanced skills will see their hourly rate increased, Kahue said.

    Kahue said despite not getting everything the nurses wanted, the negotiating committee is recommending ratification. No date has been set for a vote, she said.

    The union and the hospital must still agree on a transition plan to return the nurses to work.

    Queen's spokeswoman Lynn Kenton said the hospital is required to give its replacement nurses seven days' notice prior to contract termination.

    Should the striking nurses ratify the contract, Queen's is planning a program to reintegrate them into hospital operations, Kenton said.

    The union and the hospital will schedule a meeting, likely next week, to discuss arrangements for the nurses' return, Kahue said.

    The union also plans to hold informational meetings to explain details of the agreement prior to holding a ratification vote.

    The tentative deal at Queen's was the second for the union in two days.

    Kuakini Medical Center and its nurses reached a three-year agreement on Tuesday. A ratification vote is set for tomorrow at the Laborers International Union headquarters on Palama Street, said Hawaii Nurses Association spokesman Scott Foster.

    St. Francis Medical Center is now the only hospital without a tentative agreement.

    No new talks have been scheduled.


    January 09, 2003
    Nurses Say Kuakini Plan Endangers Patients
    KHNL TV-8 News

    Honolulu-AP -- A return-to-work meeting between Kuakini Medical Center officials and union leaders that began last evening was continuing this afternoon. Kuakini reached a tentative agreement with its nurses on Tuesday, but a meeting was scheduled to discuss transitional issues if the contract is ratified tomorrow.

    Union negotiators say most of the transition issues were worked in the first hours of the meeting that began at six o'clock last night. But they say since about two this morning, both sides have been discussing the hospital's plan to combine two floors at the hospital.

    Nurse negotiator David Haga says Kuakini wants to combine a regular medical floor with an oncology floor. Haga says this should have been brought up in negotiations.

    The plan doesn't reduce the number of nurses but Haga says it raises concerns about patient safety because of cancer patients' susceptibility to infections. A spokeswoman for Kuakini says the hospital will not comment until the meeting is over.

    Posted by Wayne Becker at January 9, 2003 04:29 PM

    Hawaii Nurses Strike Updates can be found here
  9. by   -jt
    <A paid time off plan.... Queen's said it needs the program to curb an excessive amount of sick time at the facility.>

    I figured as much. Like the lady said, if you get scabies from a pt, you cant go to work, so why should you have to use your own vacation time for something you caught on the job? And if you hurt your back lifting a pt because the hospital wont buy lifting equipment, why should you have to use your own vacation time to rest up for a few days till it gets better? Any wonder why we dont want to work for them anymore?

    If they have a problem with sick time, maybe they should look at WHY nurses are getting sick there & fix that. And offer an incentive like sick time buy-backs for unused days.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 10, '03