Queen's nurses met with their union's leaders yesterday to get an update on negotiations. Members of Local 5 joined striking nurses on picket lines at the Queen's Medical Center on Monday.

Nurses plan negotiation
strategy at union meet

More than 40 striking nurses at
Queen's are leaving for other jobs

By Mary Vorsino

About 400 Queen's Medical Center nurses met with their union's leaders yesterday to get an update on negotiations and correct what they call misinformation spreading among members and the public about the nearly month-long strike.

And as the strike drags on, union leaders say some nurses may not return to Queen's even after an agreement is reached.

The meeting lasted more than three hours. It was called by Queen's nurses and scheduled before talks broke down earlier in the week as a way to improve the nurses' morale and plan a strategy for future negotiations with the hospital.

"We are the union and we need to understand that," said Queen's nurse Robin Tanner, who attended the meeting. She said it "got a lot of things cleared up."

Tanner said communication is being improved between nurses on the picket line and negotiators. Union leaders said morale remains high among the strikers.

Negotiations between the union and Queen's fell through early Friday morning, with both sides disagreeing on key issues such as paid time off and mandatory overtime.

Courtney Lin, a Queen's nurse and HNA committee leader, said at a press conference after the meeting that the hospital put out "false information" when it said nurses were not addressing the issues in recent negotiations.

"We are out there for the right reasons," she said.

HNA Director for Collective Bargaining Sue Scheider said yesterday that she has received phone calls from more than 40 striking nurses saying they are leaving the hospital for work at other local or mainland hospitals.

Tanner, a critical-care nurse and seven-year veteran of the hospital, said she is one of the nurses who are looking elsewhere for work.

She said she plans to stay on the picket lines until the strike is resolved or she is hired permanently elsewhere, whichever comes first. "I will not cross the picket line. I'm even more resolved than I was when the strike started."

Caroldean Kahue, the union's chief negotiator for Queen's, said the nurses who do return after the strike may not put in as much effort, such as serving on committees or putting in extra time for research, as they did before.

"The ones that return are going to do their job" and nothing more, she said.

Kahue added that the union is "quite willing and ready to bargain ... (and) reach an agreement now," a statement that received lengthy applause by the more than 75 nurses who remained for the press conference.

Queen's spokeswoman Lynn Kenton said the hospital has "reached agreement on numerous, numerous issues" since negotiations began.

"We're willing to work" with the nurses," she said. "We're willing to discuss the issues."

But despite what the two sides say about their willingness to meet, no new negotiations with the hospital are scheduled.

Queen's Medical Center
Hawaii Nurses Association

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