Thursday, December 30, 1999

Kuakini nurses ratify
contract: 8% pay raise,
input on staffing

The move ends a strike possibility
at the last of the 'Big Five' hospitals

By Lori Tighe


Registered nurses at Kuakini Medical Center overwhelmingly ratified a new contract last night, closing the door on the possibility of a nurses strike at any of the "Big Five" hospitals.

More than 70 percent of the 220 nurses voted to pass the three-year contract.

It allows nurses to participate in staffing decisions and to collect data on nursing indicators, which will look at the type and quality of care nurses give.

It also gives them an 8 percent raise over three years.

Their contract is similar to agreements reached by nurses at Kapiolani, St. Francis, Queen's and Kaiser hospitals, and described as "landmark."

The hospitals began negotiating Oct. 4. Registered nurses at all the hospitals except for Kaiser gave 10-day strike notices and threatened to walk out over the holidays if agreements weren't reached.

Kuakini nurses had been staged to strike tomorrow.

"For the first time, employers have agreed to contract language that addresses nurses' professional concerns, including patient safety and staffing standards -- something the nurses have been trying to address through contract negotiations for the past 15 years," said Marian Marsh, a registered nurse and chief negotiator for the Hawaii Nurses Association.

"This is a new day for Hawaii's health and Hawaii's nurses."

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