HONOLULU – Nurses at St.-Francis West overwhelmingly ratified their tentative agreement reached on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003. The agreement provides the following:

*A total wage increase of 19.5 percent with longevity rates of $1 and $2 above the job rate respectively for RNs with 7 and 15 years of service at the Medical Center.

*Implementation of a defined benefit pension plan with provisions to protect from reduction or freezing of benefits.

*Improved contract language to address staffing, nursing practice, and patient care.

*Continued medical coverage at realistic rates.

Lystra Braumuller and Rida Cabanilla, Nurse Negotiators, say they believe the contract will help recruit and retain seasoned nurses at St. Francis-West, which is important because the medical center serves the entire Ewa community, including Kapolei, Makakilo and Waipahu.

Union spokesperson and chief negotiator Claudine Tomasa credited the Employer’s recognition of the value of its nurses and the need to keep them at West for the success in reaching accord.

She says with a dwindling supply of nurses in Hawaii and fierce competition for RNs on the mainland, it is practical for any healthcare facility to create a work environment that supports nursing practice and rewards nurses with attractive wage and benefit packages.

Tomasa also acknowledges the tentative settlement is patterned after the current contract covering nurses at St. Francis-Liliha.

“Everyone was mindful of Liliha’s tumultuous negotiation sessions and the 7-week strike those nurses struggled through,” she continued. “The nurses at West have certainly benefited from the sacrifices their colleagues at Liliha made to win a fair contract.”

”’Scott Foster is the owner of SCOTT FOSTER & ASSOCIATES, an Integrated Communications Consultancy, and worked with the striking nurses. He can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:fosters005@hawaii.rr.com

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