Striking workers seek to extend picketing to driveway entrance of Maui hospital emergency department
March 5, 2023, 7:52 AM HST
* Updated March 5, 5:27 PM
United Public Workers union members continue their strike, with plans to return to the bargaining table on Monday, March 6, with subsequent dates scheduled if necessary.
Before then, the union has submitted a notice to extend picketing to the driveway entrances to the emergency department and education building/administration parking lot at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, effective today, Sunday, March 5, 2023.
The striking workers have been picketing at the main entrances to the Maui Memorial Medical Center and Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital, and Lānaʻi Community Hospital since Feb. 22, 2023.
While the notice to extend picketing to other entrances was submitted, representatives with the United Public Workers union say there are no immediate plans to do so.
“UPW takes its responsibility to the Maui community very seriously and will not obstruct emergency vehicles or any individuals seeking emergency care,” said United Public Workers, State Director, Kalani Werner in a statement.
“UPW represents healthcare workers who are acutely aware of the challenges facing the healthcare system on Maui. We have been fighting tirelessly for better wages, benefits, and working conditions for these workers precisely because we understand their critical role in ensuring access to quality healthcare on the island,” said Werner.
Representatives with Maui Health say they have contacted the UPW leadership in an effort to ensure any community members experiencing a medical emergency can still access emergent care without interference.
Since the driveway is the primary access point for community members in need of emergent care, Maui Health has alerted Maui Police Department leadership. They will also have hospital security available to facilitate identification of individuals seeking to access emergency care, and to facilitate appropriate communication with picketers to minimize delays.
“Please do not let strike activity deter you from accessing emergency care, or from visiting a loved one in the hospital. If you are experiencing any delays in accessing the hospital, please make that known to Maui Health Security who will be on-site at the entrance to facilitate communication with picketers and/or Maui Police Department personnel when it is necessary for emergent medical access,” said Maui Health representatives.
Werner said the UPW has hope that its 500 striking workers can reach an agreement. “As we return to the bargaining table, we remain hopeful that Maui Health System will recognize the value of our workers and negotiate in good faith to improve the healthcare system on Maui for the benefit of all,” he said.
Maui Health representatives say they are committed to providing updates that can also be accessed online at www.mauihealth.org/operations.