Thursday, November 21, 2002

Nurses unite
to OK strike

Nurses at St. Francis, Kapiolani
and Kuakini have voted in line
with their colleagues at
Kaiser and Queen's

Kaiser, HMSA profits down

By Lyn Danninger

Nurses at Kapiolani Medical Center, St. Francis and Kuakini Medical Center voted last night to reject management's latest offers and to issue 10-day strike notices.

Nurses at Queen's Hospital and Kaiser Foundation Hospital approved similar measures earlier this week.

Meanwhile, contract talks between the Hawaii Nurses Association, Queen's Hospital and Kapiolani Medical Center are scheduled to begin tomorrow.

The Queen's nurses, the largest unit of the Hawaii Nurses Association, rejected the hospital's contract offer Tuesday night.

Contract sticking points for Queen's nurses include improved retirement benefits, full-paid retiree medical insurance, wage increases on par with mainland nursing salaries, improved staffing ratios, eliminating mandatory overtime, and issues with vacation, sick leave and holiday time, said Caroldean Kahue, a labor relations specialist with the HNA who is part of the negotiating team. The negotiations will include a federal mediator.

The union issued a strike notice yesterday on behalf of Kaiser Foundation Hospital nurses, who voted Monday night to give the union the authority to do so. If no agreement is reached between the parties by Dec. 1, the union said Kaiser's nurses will strike.

Both Kaiser and Queen's have begun preparing for a possible strike.

In a statement issued this morning, Queen's said it plans to bring in replacement nurses from the mainland.

Yesterday, Kaiser spokesman Chris Pablo said the hospital would attempt to find replacement nurses in the event of a strike.

And while Kaiser's clinics will maintain normal operating hours, some specialized clinic-based outpatient services would likely have to be curtailed, said Pablo.

"We'll determine the level of services depending on staff and then prioritize services," he said.

Hawaii Nurses Association

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