Nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center have withdrawn their intent to strike…for now.
The intent was withdrawn Tuesday morning just before a meeting with management in which nurses brought out a new proposal. A proposal they believed would sway management into an agreement.
Nursing staff say that the withdrawal of the threat was a measure of good faith, however E.M.M.C. rejected the new proposal.
The main sticking point between staff and management is the staff-proposed professional practice committee.
Originally, the nursing union wanted the committee to be made up of just staff nurses, saying that when management is present in meetings, the nurses have felt berated and unsafe when they voice their opinions.
Hospital managers say they will not accept a committee without nurse managers, and reportedly said as such Tuesday morning.
Union President Judy Brown had this to say about that meeting. ":The committee would be compromised of direct care nurses and, as we needed, we could have managers come in to the meetings, but it wasn’t compromised of equal members of nurses and managers.":
What that means in daily operations is that nurses would only meet with nursing managers quarterly and the proposals that might be generated by the committee would bypass nurse managers and go directly to the chief nursing officer.
E.M.M.C. representatives told TV5 reporters that this proposal would be excluding nurse managers from being a part of important conversations and decision making, and they feel it’s disrespectful the manager’s nursing expertise.
Sources in the hospital say that there are nurses that want to vote on the package presented Tuesday morning, and, to their understanding, the union is not letting them do that.
The nurses will be having a meeting Thursday to inform the membership of Tuesday’s events, and to discuss further steps.