EMMC and Nurses’ Union Continue to Negotiate

Next bargaining session scheduled for June 17


(Bangor, Maine) – Eastern Maine Medical Center and the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United were back at the bargaining table today, but were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract. Compensation and staffing ratios remain the major unresolved issues, although the parties have yet to agree on several other topics.

“We believe our nurses should be well compensated, and they are,” says Deb Sanford, RN, MS, vice president and chief nursing officer. “Our wages and benefits for nurses are very competitive for the region, and with the union still asking for an eight percent wage increase, it has been difficult to have a reasonable conversation on this issue.”

Staffing ratios are a national agenda item for the union that has been a topic of discussion since EMMC and the union started negotiating in April. EMMC maintains that the concept of ratios is outdated and does not allow hospitals to make adjustments based on how sick patients are and the experience and skill of the entire care team.

“Our approach to staffing is flexible because every patient has unique needs,” says Deb. “Our staffing plans meet nationally-accepted standards of care, which is one reason we achieve high marks for quality from outside organizations. We’re confident in our staffing and the care we provide. While we always have room to improve and believe it’s important to consider new ideas, staffing ratios simply are not a solution to any problem at EMMC.”

The bargaining teams will be back at the table on June 17 with the federal mediator, one day before the contract expires.

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