Work Stoppage Looms For Nurses At EMMC 

Union nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor say hospital administrators aren’t playing by the rules. Hospital officials say that’s not true. On this eve of a three-day work stoppage, nurses have filed a grievance against the hospital.Replacement nurses will soon be patroling the halls at EMMC, where they’ve also increased security for the weekend according to Helen McKinnon, V.P. of Support Services at EMMC. “We actually had extra security as of today,” she says. “We went in to level two of our security plan today which means more security patrols over all of our campus at our perimeters.”With talks between union nurses and hospital officials at a stand still, nurses have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Nurses say in order to prove current staffing levels are inadequate, they want the hospital to provide them with some statistics. Numbers that document incidents they say they already know are going on. Jen Kadel is an R.N. & also on the nurses bargaining team. “We know the medications are not given on time,” she says. “We know that there’s adult patients on the pediatrics floor because we can talk to our membership so we know there are these incidents happening. we want the proof from the hospital to give us exact numbers.”Greg Howat, V.P. of Human Resources at EMMC says they never refused to divulge that information. “In October we offered to meet with them because we think they don’t quite understand the information they were asking about and they said they’d be happy to meet with us,” says Howat. “And then they changed their position, they’re not happy to meet with us and they filed an unfair labor practice charge.”Nurses are also accusing the hospital of trying trying to recruit replacement nurses back in March. Before negotiations even started. “They’re heartbroken,” says Kadel of the nurses. “They’re distraught to think that their management would not come to the table in good faith bargaining.”Hospital officials call it standard procedure. “We have to be confident that if there is some event like a strike that the communities safety and health is protected,” says Howat. “That is not an indication we’re bargaining in bad faith.”Both sides aren’t expected back to the negotiating table november 29th. Officials at St. Joseph’s hospital in Bangor tells TV 5 they are adding additional staffing in anticipation of a higher patient load this weekend.