Striking UPW workers reject latest contract offer from Maui Health
March 21, 2023, 7:14 AM HST
Members of the United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO have rejected Maui Health System’s latest contract offer. The tentative agreement was reached last week Tuesday, and was the fourth time the two sides came to a potential common ground.
But, with an overwhelming number of members voting NO to the latest three-year offer, the strike continues with no clear timeline on where contract discussions go from here.
Nearly 500 workers represented by the United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO have been on strike since Feb. 22, 2023, seeking a new contract with better wages.
The striking workers include nurses aides, respiratory therapists, housekeepers, cooks and other workers at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lānaʻi Community Hospital.
United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO State Director Kalani Werner said, “Once again, Kaiser’s Maui Health System has undervalued our healthcare heroes. Our members deserve to be treated fairly and compensated appropriately, and the recent offer from Maui Health System does neither. The latest proposed wage increases still leave many skilled employees making less than the market rate and do not keep up with the inflation rate.”
Representatives with Maui Health say, “We have engaged openly and positively in contract negotiations with UPW and have reached four separate agreements in good faith, three of which were endorsed by the UPW bargaining representatives and each one was better than the last. It is very unusual for four consecutive tentative agreements between an employer and a union to be rejected in ratification votes of the union members.”
Maui Health says the proposal that was just rejected included “significant pay increases” and other benefits that were improvements over previous offers.
Werner said, “The Employer has proven time and time again that they have money for traveling staff but spare none for the loyal local families that serve their community. Although frontline workers put their lives at risk through the pandemic, hospital management repeatedly fails to do what’s right and give them the respect they deserve.”
Union representatives say the workers they represent are committed to holding the line, and picketing will continue until a fair deal is reached.
Maui Health responded to our request for comment saying, “We will continue to seek common ground, and attempt to reach agreement with UPW in good faith. This does not mean, however, that we will necessarily continue to improve our economic proposals. We call upon the union to work with us to find a basis for agreement that a majority of their members will accept.”
There is no anticipated date for when negotiations will resume.