CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Aggie Pigao Cadiz, executive director of the Hawaii Nurses Association, waved the shaka sign yesterday along Ala Moana Boulevard during a union picket near Hawaii Pacific Hospital's headquarters in support of the nurses of Wilcox Hospital on strike on Kauai.
Hospital and nurses to meet
Both sides are hopeful as the strike on Kauai finishes its third week
Striking nurses and the administration of Kauai's Wilcox Hospital are scheduled to go back to the bargaining table Monday, the first negotiations in nearly a month.
The two sides said they are hopeful about Monday's 1 p.m. meeting with a federal negotiator at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club in Lihue. The strike will be 3 weeks old tomorrow.
Yesterday, while a few Wilcox nurses gathered with other union supporters outside the downtown offices of hospital owner Hawaii Pacific Health, Wilcox Chief Executive Officer Kathy Clark met with reporters inside.
"I'm very hopeful we'll make some progress, that we'll get something on the table we can talk about," Clark said after the news conference. "This is a no-win situation."
Clark said that while the hospital -- Kauai's lone full-service facility -- has been providing all its services with the help of replacement nurses, it is a bad situation for the island to see their neighbors out on the picket lines.
"We're willing to listen to what the union has to say and make a determination," Clark said. "There's always room to negotiate."
But Aggie Pigao Cadiz, Hawaii Nurses Association executive director, said the striking nurses have always been willing to negotiate. It is the administration that has been dragging its feet, she said.
"Last time, the night before (the strike vote), the employers said, 'Take it or leave it,'" Pigao Cadiz said. The union voted "and said, 'Leave it.'"
Clark said there are three issues still on the table: the staff-to-patient ratio, and two issues regarding on-call policies for nurses in the operating room.
Clark said that while the hospital is willing to discuss creation of a committee to look into a different staff-to-patient ratio, a $50,000 software system to handle that ratio is unacceptable when the hospital is continuing to lose money. She said the administration has made concessions on the on-call issue.
Pigao Cadiz has said, however, that the ratio currently in place does not work and that it makes patient care more difficult for the nurses at Wilcox.
She said the replacement nurses flown in from the mainland have been extremely expensive as well, and the money would have been better suited going to securing better patient care rather than fighting the nurses.