Striking UPW workers reject latest contract offer from Maui Health : Maui Now
Members of the United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO have rejected Maui’s healthcare system’s recent contract offer. The tentative agreement was reached on Tuesday last week and marked the fourth time the two sides have encountered potential common ground.
But with an overwhelming number of members voting NO to the latest three-year deal, the strike continues with no clear timeline for how contract negotiations will proceed from here.
Nearly 500 workers, represented by the United Public Workers AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO, have been on strike since February 22, 2023, seeking a new contract with better wages.
Striking workers include nursing assistants, 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, the Kaiser Maui healthcare system has undervalued our healthcare heroes. Our members deserve to be treated fairly and fairly compensated, and Maui Health System’s recent offering does neither. Recent proposed wage increases still mean that many skilled workers are earning below market rates and not keeping pace with inflation.”
Maui Health officials say, “We have openly and positively engaged in contract negotiations with UPW and entered into four separate good faith agreements, three of which were endorsed by UPW negotiators, each better than the previous one. It is very unusual for four consecutive interim agreements between an employer and a union to be rejected in ratification votes by union members.”
According to Maui Health, the proposal just rejected included “significant salary increases” and other benefits that represented improvements over previous offers.
Werner said: “The employer has proven time and time again that they have money for traveling staff but nothing for the loyal local families who serve their community. Despite the lives of frontline workers being put at risk by the pandemic, hospital management consistently fails to do the right thing and show them the respect they deserve.”
Union officials say the workers they represent are determined to hold the line and picketing will continue until a fair deal is reached.
Maui Health responded to our request for comment, stating, “We will continue to seek common ground and attempt to reach a good faith settlement with UPW. However, this does not mean that we will necessarily continue to improve our economic proposals. We urge the union to work with us to find a basis for an agreement that a majority of its members will accept.”
There is no expected date for the resumption of negotiations.