QNHCH Nurses Reject Contract Package Offered by Queen’s Management
Nurses at Queen’s North Hawai‘i Community Hospital in Waimea turned out in overwhelming numbers to vote on a package offered by Queen’s management. They voted to reject the package.
Voting began Sunday, May 1, and concluded yesterday, May 4.
“While the nurses appreciate Queen’s attempt to offer some concessions in their proposed contract, they felt there were major unresolved issues,” said Daniel Ross, President of the Hawai‘i Nurses’ Association. “The nurses believe the staff shortages at Waimea must be addressed because the Waimea community deserves a fully-staffed hospital. The inability of Queen’s to hire or retain enough nurses at its Waimea facility is causing serious safety concerns. The people of Waimea deserve better.”
QNHCH nurses’ contracts with the Queen’s Health System expired on April 1. Since then, HNA and Queen’s management have been bargaining in good faith to address Waimea’s health care workers’ concerns of pay equity and understaffing.
Queenʻs Health Systems officials confirmed last week QNHCH has 10 full-time vacancies that they are actively working to fill. There are 10 travel nurses at the facility and officials say a few more are scheduled to start soon.
Ross said management offered a 16% wage increase. While that is significant, it’s still 7% behind Oahu. The nurses’ issue, Ross added is they’re working with an extremely short staff. There needs to be a short-term fix along with the increase in pay.
“The people in Waimea deserve adequate care,” he said. “Big Island citizens are not second class.”
The nurses have requested Queen’s to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith. A meeting date has not yet been set.
At this point, Ross said nurses are not talking about going on strike.
“We’re talking about going back to the table to address the staffing crisis,” he said.
Big Island Now reached out to Queen’s Health System management and is awaiting a response.