Nurses Reject EMMC Contract 

Catherine Pegram

Union nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor have rejected the hospital’s final offer on a new contract.The vote paves the way for the nurses’ bargaining team to call for a strike.850 nurses at EMMC are members of the Maine State Nurses Association.The union’s been pushing for higher nurse-to-patient ratios. They’ve also been negotiating over health insurance.Nurses spent the last two days voting on the contract.Spokesperson Judy Brown won’t give exact numbers, but says a vast majority voted and 86 percent rejected the contract.Brown says union members will get together Monday to discuss their options.A federal mediator will also be brought back to re-start negotiations.Officials with EMMC say they’re confident their contract provides for patient safety and offers fair compensation and benefits.They add they’re prepared to bring in replacement nurses in the event of a strike.