After a final day of negotiations with hospital management on Sunday, union officials tell us that the two sides were unable to come up with an agreement.
On Monday morning, the nurses filed an intent to strike: Official notification to the hospital that in ten days, the nurses will walk. That means the one-day strike would start at 7am on October 11th.
It would be the first nurses’ strike in E.M.M.C. history.
The two sides have been negotiating a new contract since July.
The sticking points have been wages, and the nurses’ request to form their own professional practice committee or PPC to address staffing issues at the Bangor hospital.
E.M.M.C. vice president of communications Jill McDonald says the hospital’s final offer was a good one: a three year contract, with raises of 4, 3 and 3 percent respectively.
McDonald says that’s a significant increase, since the nurses’ base rate of pay is between 46 and 81-thousand dollars annually.
Management also agreed to not charge nurses for their individual healthcare coverage, but the hospital would not agree to the PPC.
Nurse union president Judy Brown says that’s unacceptable. Brown says nurses won’t accept a new contract until they’re allowed to form the committee, and gain a ":little more control over their profession.":
There is still hope for an 11th hour agreement. A federal mediator has ordered both sides back to the table on Tuesday. If nothing is settled by the 11th, the nurses will be walking the picket line and E.M.M.C. will have to bring in outside nurses to staff its beds.