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Nurses’ union, Queen’s, still in disagreement over terms of new contract

The union for nurses at The Queen’s Health System said they were disappointed at the progress of negotiations for a new contract with hospital management.

The Hawaii Nurses’ Association, which represents nearly 2,000 nurses at Queen’s Punchbowl and West Oahu campuses, said in a news release Friday that in-person meetings with management next week are in limbo.

HNA said that the bargaining sessions were scheduled in person at Blaisdell Center on Tuesday and Wednesday, but alleged that Queen’s reneged on its commitment. HNA said the union paid to secure space at the Blaisdell for the first day, but was uncertain whether Queen’s upheld its agreement to pay for the second day.

“The nurses have always participated in the past negotiation sessions virtually, and were looking forward to the in-person meetings,” HNA president Rose Agas-Yuu said in the release. “We’re disappointed but not surprised by the broken promises, lack of clarity and transparency, and poor communication and follow through, which are so typical of Queen’s. This is what the nurses have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Queen’s responded in a statement that it “remains committed to good faith negotiations with the union and stands ready to meet” but did not say whether it would be in person.

Queen’s executives said they offered HNA an enhanced package proposal making its nurses among the highest paid in the state, along with workplace and quality of life improvements.

“We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached with HNA during our negotiation sessions scheduled for next week,” Queen’s officials said. “We look forward to continuing our positive momentum and to reaching an agreement that respects our nurses and their profession, promotes superior patient care for our community, provides competitive pay, and is sustainable for our organization.”

The two parties have held collective bargaining sessions twice a week since April 9. HNA’s contract with Queen’s expires June 30.

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