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Talks over hospital wages continue

Maui Health, union to meet again next week

Maui Health System and the hospital workers’ union have scheduled more negotiating dates as the two sides remain deadlocked over raises for employees, among other issues.

Philip Velasco, co-chairman of United Nurses Association of California/Union of Health Care Professionals Hawaii Chapter, said Tuesday that the union and hospital management will meet again with a federal mediator on Feb. 23 and 25.

According to Velasco, Maui Health is still proposing no pay increase during the first year of the three-year contract, an offer that the union and hospital workers rallied against during a vehicle parade around Maui Memorial on Monday afternoon.

“We’re still frustrated,” Velasco said Tuesday after what had been the last scheduled day of negotiations. “Essentially we’ve offered 40 proposals.”

Velasco declined to go into detail about the union’s latest proposal, as they were still awaiting feedback from hospital management.

“We are trying to work with them and try to come to a fair and equitable middle ground,” he said. “Them still stuck on 0 percent is not helping. I think that’s the message, that even after this show of support from the community and from the staff, that they’re still only going to offer 0 percent.”

Maui Health had also proposed a 1.25 percent increase in pay for the second year and another 1.25 percent increase in the third, according to the union, which represents nearly 900 workers at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital.

Maui Health spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said Tuesday that she could not comment on the specifics of the negotiations.

“We value all of our Maui Health employees and are confident our good faith negotiations will result in a fair and equitable agreement,” she said.

The two sides have been in discussions for about eight months; the old contract was supposed to expire June 30, 2020, but has been extended until April while negotiations continue.

The union has said that Maui Health is offering better starting pay for new graduate nurses but not enough incentives to retain veterans.

Maui Health is scheduled to hold a virtual town hall at 3 p.m. Feb. 25. For more information or to RSVP, visit www. mauihealth.org/covid-19/communitytownhall/. Participants can submit questions via text message to (808) 214-3637 and tune in live at facebook .com/WeAreMauiHealth.

* Colleen Uechi can be reached at cuechi@mauinews.com.

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