Saturday, June 9, 2001

Molokai nurses
still on strike

By Rod Antone

Molokai General Hospital administrators and registered nurses are still deadlocked in contract negotiations. Both sides still had not reached a settlement yesterday after meeting with the federal mediator for 91/2 hours.

Molokai General is the only emergency room and urgent-care clinic on the island and employs six registered nurses, five of which have been on strike since May 12.

Those involved in negotiations said they started at 8:30 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m. with only a half-hour lunch break. The sticking point is still money, as Molokai nurses have not had a pay raise in three years.

Though details about what was on the table during yesterday's talks were not available, earlier offers from the hospital included a 1 percent increase per year over the next two years if the contract were extended until 2003. Nurses wanted the contract to expire in 2002.

Hawaii Nurses Association officials said the total amount of pay raises per year for all six Molokai RNs would cost the hospital less than $4,000. Though the Molokai community has supported its nurses with donations of food, those on the picket line have already gone without more than one paycheck.

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