EMMC Denounces Second Strike

04/25/2011

Eastern Maine Medical Center today denounced a second strike notice delivered by Maine State Nurses Association and its parent union, National Nurses United.

The notice to strike on May 5 was delivered at 2 pm Easter Sunday and comes despite contract negotiations planned for May 3. “We have a responsibility to negotiate a contract that is in the best interest of our patients, employees, and the communities we serve; this can only be done at the bargaining table, and cannot be resolved on the sidewalks of Bangor,” says Deborah Carey Johnson, RN, EMMC president and CEO.

In November, Eastern Maine Medical Center’s employees, patients, and their families endured a strike at the hands of National Nurses United, and EMMC continues to question the motives behind this disruptive tactic. “We’ve been very clear that a strike will not change the medical center’s position on the remaining issues. In light of this, it’s ironic that a national union hanging its hat on patient safety is so quick to force a walk out on the patients it claims to protect,” says Lorraine Rodgerson, RN, vice president of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer.

National Nurses United continues to make public comments in an attempt to discredit the care EMMC’s nurses provide with statements about unsafe staffing. However, the federal mediator has indicated the bargaining teams have reached a tentative compromise on language regarding staffing levels. The compromise does not include ratios, but rather a process for addressing and documenting a nurse's concern about staffing. The only point left to resolve is what form that documentation will take.

It is important for nurses, employees, and the communities the hospital serves to understand that the federal mediator working with the two sides at the bargaining table has identified three remaining sticking points which do not include staffing levels at EMMC. The identified areas include:
  • EMMC's proposal to offer nurses the same health plans and contribution requirements as all other EMMC employees
  • Charge nurses taking patient assignments
  • Transfer language
EMMC calls on National Nurses United to truly put patient safety at the forefront. Stop the bullying tactics and come to the table prepared to find solutions within the current realities facing healthcare.

Eastern Maine Medical Center is prepared to continue providing patients with the same safe, high quality care they have come to expect from EMMC. The hospital has continued it's agreement with the same national temporary staffing firm that provided highly-skilled nurses to care for our patients during the first NNU/MSNA strike in November. We will be distributing information about these plans as well as instructions for employees working during a strike in the near future.