Hawaii nurses slam Queen's Health System over 18.9% pay disparity

Waimea-based Queen's North Hawaii Community Hospital has been struggling to recruit nurses, partially because the Hawaii island hospital pays less than the system's counterparts on Oahu, Hawai'i Public Radio reported April 13.

The hospital pays its nurses on average 18.9 percent less than hospitals within the system on Oahu, Hawai'i Nurses' Association President Daniel Ross told the station. The nurses also have no pensions and have to pay higher shares of health insurance premiums, the nurses told Hawai'i Public Radio.

Mr. Ross said North Hawai'i Community Hospital nurses are paid less "because the employers can get away with it. Straight out. It's greed. It's money. I'm straight out, honest. Queen's likes to try to put out, 'We're one big 'ohana,' and it's all about image."

A meeting was scheduled for earlier in April to negotiate pay with the Hawai'i Nurses' Association, but the system did not disclose what was said in the meeting, according to the report.

"We remain committed to good faith bargaining with the Hawai'i Nurses' Association to reach a new contract that our represented nurses can be proud of and support," Queens said in a statement to the station. "While we were unable to reach an agreement at our last session, to date we've had productive and engaging dialogue at the bargaining table."

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