Eastern Maine Medical Center nurses issue strike notice

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The nurses at Bangor-based Eastern Maine Medical Center issued a strike notice to the hospital July 2, planning to strike on July 13 and 14.

The nurses are represented by Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United.

The nurses originally voted to authorize a strike at the beginning of June. Then, the hospital and the union reached a contract extension agreement later that month that extended the current contract through July 2.

On July 2, the hospital received the strike notice, according to EMMC. If the strike does occur as planned on July 13 and 14, the hospital plans to bring in replacement nurses in the morning of July 13 and ending the morning of July 17.

"Obviously we prefer to have EMMC nurses caring for our patients; however, the replacement nurse that worked at EMMC during the 2010 strike were very qualified and compassionate and we expect we will have a similar experience during the upcoming work stoppage," said Deborah Carey Johnson, the hospital's president and CEO, in a statement.

The union and the hospital have butted heads over staffing ratios and pay. "We have to get staffing relief, that's our bottom line," a staff nurse told WGME.

Ms. Johnson said, "We remain far apart on staffing ratios and compensation, which is not surprising since these are national agenda items for the union."

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