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Maui and Lānaʻi hospital workers strike after rejecting new contract

maui health strike.jpeg
United Public Workers
Hospital employees gather on the picket line on Feb. 22, 2023 to strike against Maui Health's most recent contract proposal.

After about eight months of negotiations, hundreds of Maui County hospital employees walked out on Wednesday morning to show their dissatisfaction with Maui Health's proposed contract agreement.

United Public Workers represents over 500 union hospital workers who were called to strike on Maui.

UPW stated Tuesday that even after three recent sessions with a mediator, Maui Health Center has yet to reach an agreement with health care workers on the terms of fair wages and hours.

Nurses aides, housekeepers, cooks and other employees had been working under a contract extension since June 2022.

A union representative told reporters that he could not share the details of the vote, but confirmed Tuesday evening that the offer was rejected.

United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646 and AFL-CIO represent the workers and said their members voted by almost a 98% majority to authorize the strike at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lānaʻi Community Hospital. Maui Health is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

In a statement, Maui Health spokesperson Tracy Dallarda said patients should not be deterred by the strike.

"All appointments and outpatient procedures will continue as scheduled," Maui Health said. "Maui Health has a contingency plan in place to reduce any potential disruption to patient care and overall operations, which includes additional staffing including a labor pool, to assist in affected areas."

The Maui strike comes after months of worker demonstrations in protest of Kaiser Permanente mental health resources statewide, which began last August and ended last week.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers announced Sunday that an agreement was met, meaning the "longest mental health strike in history" was officially over after almost 200 days.

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