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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kaua'i nurse strike enters 12th week

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

Wilcox Hospital nurses entered their 12th week on strike yesterday with new negotiations, and with demonstrations on O'ahu and Kaua'i.

Both sides say the key issue in the strike is the nurses' insistence on a system that would call in more nursing help when the needs of patients increase. Wilcox Hospital and its parent, Hawai'i Pacific Health, insist staffing is and should be a management function.

Neither side commented on details of yesterday's negotiations, but in a statement on its Web site, the nurses association said that in previous sessions, "on the key issue of staffing, HPH/Wilcox refuses to give nurses any meaningful input into the process to develop a patient classification system."

Wilcox CEO Kathy Clark sent nurses a letter suggesting the union was not fully informing its members of the company's offers, and she outlined some of the proposals. The union responded by inviting nurses to sit in on negotiations. Hospital spokeswoman Lani Yukimura said nurse observers were present at yesterday's bargaining session.

Yukimura said negotiators discussed issues and established an agenda for the next session, scheduled for Friday.

Striking nurses held a rally in front of the hospital at noon yesterday. In Honolulu, supporters were to assemble a one-hour picket line at 5 p.m. yesterday outside Hawai'i Pacific Health offices on Merchant Street.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.