May 16, 2012
Bangor, ME Eastern Maine Medical Center and the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United were back at the negotiation table with the federal mediator today. After a short session, EMMC restated its final offer, the union did not respond, and the mediator ended the session around 11:30 am.
The union continues to ask for an added step increase for nurses who have worked at EMMC for 360 months (an added three percent pay increase for about 60 nurses). EMMC has countered with a final three-year offer that includes a three percent, two percent, and two percent wage increase for all nurses in the bargaining unit.
The union has proposed that EMMC add or maintain a resource nurse every day on eight nursing units. In addition to house-wide resource nurses and Rapid Response Teams, resource nurses are already in place on many of these units, and EMMC continues to work with unit staff to determine staffing models that are appropriate. EMMC maintains staffing decisions do not belong in a contract. No one can predict future staffing challenges and needs. Patient volume, technology, acuity, and other factors will affect staffing. It would be irresponsible to commit contractually to one staffing approach for the future knowing we would have to persuade the union to adjust the contract should these factors change.
We hope union members will be given the opportunity to vote on what EMMC views as a reasonable and fair offer. In the meantime, no further bargaining dates have been set by the federal mediator.