I was saddened to see that Sen. Daniel Inouye did not mention an interest in increasing funding for the state hospital system in his initiatives for our state (The Maui News, Aug. 19).
The nurses of Hawaii Government Employees Association have been without a contract since last July. The deficit in pay is more than 45 percent from private facilities. We have lost many experienced nurses due to pay cuts (from an already deficient pay package) since 2009.
We will be entering into arbitration in September and will hopefully make progress. We were asked to take pay cuts for the last two contracts prior to the state completing its financial review. We accepted these pay cuts in 2009. Recently we were informed that funds were discovered in the delinquent financial statement by the state.
I have been a nurse at Maui Memorial for 25 years. The pay has always been 35 to 45 percent less than private facilities. I am committed to my profession but poor wages have made seeking employment elsewhere more attractive.
Hopefully, the arbitration panel's decision will reflect support of our nurses, who are the single most important component of patient care.
This is a health care crisis. Morale is rapidly deteriorating as the staff awaits a decision.