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UPW workers go on strike

Photo credit: UPW
UPW workers go on strike
By UPW ·

WAILUKU, Hawaii – Nearly 500 front-line health care workers at Kaiser’s Maui Health System have gone on strike in a dispute over pay.

Nurse’s aides, respiratory therapists, housekeepers, cooks and other workers at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital walked out and began organized picketing at all three locations on Wednesday at 6 a.m. Hawaii time.

United Public Workers/AFSCME Local 646, AFL-CIO, which represents the workers, said its members voted by a 97.6% majority to authorize the strike.

“These workers deserve to be paid fair wages after laboring through the pandemic, enduring staffing shortages and dealing with soaring inflation,” said State Director Kalani Werner.

After nearly nine months of trying to work with Kaiser to ensure a fair work environment, the workers have lost confidence in the hospital’s management. The Maui Health System workers have been working under a contract extension since June 30, 2022. The workers elected to strike after contract negotiations and subsequent mediation failed.

“Our workers generously gave their all in the spirit of cooperation and lōkahi (agreement, unanimity) to support the community through the pandemic and beyond, but there has not been any appreciation by the hospital,” added Werner. “Our requests are fair and reasonable.”

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