Nurses and Health Care Workers at Maui Health System Reach Tentative Agreement for a New Contract
Agreement benefits patients, the community, and workers
News Release from United Nurses and Health Care Employees of Hawaii Feb 26, 2021
MAUI—The registered nurses and other health care workers of Maui Health System reached a tentative contract agreement with MHS management just past 1:00 am HST Friday morning. The contract rewards the risks taken and sacrifices made by these workers during the pandemic, while addressing other significant issues such as retention of experienced nurses, bringing up the wages of the lowest-paid workers, and giving nurses a voice in patient care.
The agreement comes after eight months of negotiations which began on June 15, 2020 and ended in two marathon sessions this week assisted by a mediator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), one which began Tuesday morning and ended around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, and yesterday’s session which began in the afternoon and ended in the early morning hours today. The previous contract expired on June 30, 2020 but was extended by mutual agreement between union and management numerous times during the course of bargaining.
“We secured improvements in this new contract that will benefit the community as a whole as well as the staff,” said Phil Velasco, RN, Co-Chair of United Nurses and Health Care Employees of Hawaii (UNHCEH), a chapter of United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP). “I’m glad it’s done.
“We thank the Maui community for their support, and I appreciate the hard work and dedication put in over the last eight months by our negotiating team, as well as the staff in our facilities who waited patiently these last eight months, and who came out in huge numbers last week for our vehicle parade around Maui Memorial, which helped show management how important this was to everyone and bring the negotiations to a successful resolution.”
Last week’s Respect Our Health Care Heroes Parade saw 149 cars decorated with streamers, balloons, signs and writing on windshields, and packed with an estimated 500 UNHCEH members, family, friends, and community supporters, circle the hospital three times in a raucous celebration of the risks and sacrifices made by these workers during the pandemic.
“We did make financial gains, but just being able to provide improved care for the community is very important,” said Velasco. “We addressed some significant issues, such as creation of a labor-management practice committee which gives nurses and staff input into patient care issues, such as acuity and care standards.
“We also won provisions to address the retention of experienced nurses and lift the wages of some of our lower-paid workers who contribute so much to patient care. People tend to focus on nursing, but it takes everybody including those not generally noticed, like admitting clerks, financials clerks, imaging techs, and others, to provide the needed services that benefit our patients.”
In 2018-2019 the turnover rate among nurses at MHS was around 20%. The standard acceptable turnover rate in health care is around 9-12%.
The agreement is tentative until UNHCEH members have the chance to meet, review it, and vote on it. Ratification meetings are being set up now, likely for next week. More details of the agreement can be announced upon ratification.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents more than 32,000 registered nurses, health care professionals, and ancillary staff in California and Hawaii, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners; admitting clerks, imaging techs, financial counselors, and more. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.
MN: Union, Maui Health System reach a tentative contract agreement
MN: Nurses and Health Care Workers at Maui Health System Reach Tentative Agreement for New Contract
KITV: Nurses reach tentative agreement with Maui Health