More than 50 Straub nurses gathered along the busy intersection of South King Street and Ward Avenue today to picket outside the hospital over contract issues.
The Hawaii Nurses Association, representing 450 registered nurses at Straub Medical Center, have been picketing since Saturday. Nurses have been working without a contract since Nov. 1.
Daniel Ross, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 50, said Straub nurses will continue to picket today and tomorrow to draw attention to Hawaii Pacific Health’s “strict and punitive attendance policy.”
“Their major issue is the archaic attendance policy,” Ross said today. “If you call in sick twice in one month, you get disciplined. You call in [sick] three times in six months, you get disciplined. The result of it is that it causes workers to come to work sick, saying it’s not safe, it’s not right. When workers come to work sick, they can get their patients sicker … people should not be penalized for getting sick.”
Straub CEO Art Gladstone, chief nurse executive for parent company Hawaii Pacific Health, on Friday told the Star-Advertiser the hospital has been negotiating in “good faith” with the nurses union and has offered a settlement that provides fair wages and benefits consistent with other HNA contracts.
“Our policies and procedures are standardized to ensure fairness for all employees and the care and safety of our patients,” he said. “We believe our attendance policy is fair and equitable for all of our 7,000+ employees throughout Hawaii Pacific Health. As a health care organization, the well-being of both our patients and our employees are among our top priorities.”
Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow.