EMMC Moves Forward with Plans to Replace Striking Nurses

11/12/2010

(Bangor) - EMMC received official word earlier this week that the union that represents EMMC nurses is planning to strike the three Bangor and Brewer campuses on Monday, November 22, 2010. This union is also planning strikes at other hospitals across the country. In order to fulfill its obligation to meet the healthcare needs of the region during this time, EMMC’s administration has secured highly trained and well-qualified replacement nurses for that Monday, along with the Saturday and Sunday before.

As we’ve mentioned before, one day strikes are costly for hospitals. While we could secure nurse replacements for one day, it is very expensive, and in keeping with our contractual agreement with the agency, we are obligated to pay each replacement nurse for three days. As a result, our nurses will be out of work for three days It is not fiscally responsible to pay both our own nurses and replacement nurses.

For this strike, the union has chosen the Monday before Thanksgiving, presenting some difficult logistical issues for the medical center. We have made the decision that the two no work days for nurses adjacent to their strike will be Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21, because flights are much less available and costly during the Thanksgiving holiday week.

EMMC’s financial commitment to the replacement plan increases as we get closer to the strike date, and we have identified the point at which we must follow through on our plan to use temporary replacement nurses. We have notified the union that if we do not have a tentative agreement signed by both parties by 11:59 pm on November 16, 2010 the replacement nurses will be on the job at EMMC for those three days (November 20, 21, and 22). We will continue to strive for a new contract, but we will not pay a double payroll for the days we have had to contract for replacement nurses to cover the planned strike.

The contract sticking points remain nurses’ wages, mandated staffing ratios, health insurance and nursing contributions to premiums, and transfer and layoff/bumping language.

EMMC has long offered solid employment, good benefits, flexible schedules and a vast variety of jobs to the citizens of the surrounding communities. It is our intention to continue to be an employer of choice, as the economic and healthcare industry landscapes change.