Maine hospital workers reach labor deal

The union representing employees at Calais (Maine) Regional Hospital has canceled a two-day strike after the bargaining unit of registered nurses and medical lab scientists reached a tentative agreement with hospital management, hospital and union officials said Nov. 11.

The agreement covers RNs and medical laboratory scientists represented by the Maine State Nurses Association. 

Calais Regional did not provide details of the agreement in a news release, except to say the deal was reached after both sides reached a consensus on health insurance and paid time off during negotiations Nov. 10. 

"Both sides gave concessions to bring the over two years long negotiations to a conclusion," the hospital said. 

The union said in its news release that highlights of the agreement include pay increases and continued protection of core benefits.

The agreement comes after the union announced plans to strike. The union also called for the firing of hospital CEO Rod Boula and raised concerns about working conditions, health insurance and employee morale. The strike was set to begin at 7 a.m. Nov. 18 and end at 6:59 a.m. Nov. 20.

"I am pleased the negotiations have ended and look forward to continuing as a unified team to care for our patients and community through the pandemic and beyond," Mr. Boula said in a news release. "I appreciate the efforts of all in finding a solution we can all support."

The union also praised the agreement.

Anne Sluzenski, RN, a member of the union's bargaining team, said in the union news release: "This was a hard fight over more than two years. We know our hospital is struggling, but we had to make sure that we protected conditions for the people who keep it running every day. We're glad that management finally worked with us to reach an agreement that protected our benefits and helped the hospital retain and recruit employees."

The ratification vote on the tentative agreement is scheduled for Nov. 16, according to the union. 

The Maine State Nurses Association represents about 50 nurses and staff at Calais Regional.


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