Wahiawa nurses
strike drags on

Negotiators go back
to the table Tuesday
in the 11-week walkout

Negotiations will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday between Wahiawa General Hospital management and striking nurses after the latest talks failed to resolve disagreements.

They met more than 14 hours, from 5 p.m. Friday to about 7 a.m. yesterday, exchanging and discussing proposals.

The nurses were prepared to continue talks until reaching a tentative agreement but hospital administrators asked that they reconvene Tuesday, the Hawaii Nurses' Association reported.

Sue Scheider, director of the association's Collective Bargaining Organization and chief negotiator, said, "The hospital's Board of Directors has become more directly involved and we hope this is a positive sign. The ball is now in their court."

The strike will move into its 11th week tomorrow, she pointed out, "and with each passing day more of Wahiawa General Hospital's registered nurses gain other permanent employment elsewhere."

Scott Foster, spokesman for the nurses' association, said all but five of the 60 striking nurses have full-time or part-time jobs at other hospitals.

"Official resignations have been very few because if they resign during the strike they will lose vacation and other benefits," he said. "Plus, an unknown number of them, I am certain, want to return to the hospital because they have worked there so many years and live down the street."

Dr. Edmund Whang, chairman of the hospital's board and acting administrator, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

A federal mediator has been involved in the talks. Besides wage increases, issues involve access to retiree benefits, increased pay to reward long-time employees and staff-related safety concerns.


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