Nurses appeal for public support

Maui News, April 28, 2011 More than 100 nurses from Maui Memorial Medical Center rallied last week to protest terms of a new contract with the state. They are concerned about the continuation of pay cuts imposed two years ago, and additional cuts in benefits. The growing disparity between what a nurse makes at the hospital and what one can make at a private hospital, or on the Mainland, is damaging the hospital, said Barbara Duarte, an operating room nurse and union steward of the operating room group for the nurses represented by the Hawai‘i Government Employee Association. Each group within the hospital is affected somewhat differently, she said, but the inability to attract or retain nurses is delaying the hospital’s development of new programs, such as open-heart surgery.