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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, June 26, 2006

First days of nurses' strike go 'smoothly'

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

LIHU'E, Kaua'i Both management and striking nurses yesterday reported good spirits during the second day of the Hawai'i Nurses Association strike against Wilcox Memorial Hospital.

The strike began at 7 a.m. Saturday, and weekends are a comparatively quiet period for the hospital.

"Everything went smoothly today, but tomorrow is a regular business day. We'll see how people respond to the picket lines," said hospital representative Lani Yukimura. The hospital is using supervisory personnel and contract nurses from the Mainland to staff its facilities, and has said it plans to continue providing all regular services.

Between 90 and 100 nurses have been walking the picket lines, said Claudine Tomasa, labor relations specialist for the nurses association. The association has 140 full-time and part-time nurses, of whom a few are crossing the picket lines to go to work. Others are on medical leave and a few are off-island, she said.

"We've tightened up our ranks a little bit," she said.

While both sides said they are ready to resume negotiations at any time, neither has called for a meeting. Neither has the federal mediator's office, which last called the parties together Thursday.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.