Federal mediator to step into Hawaii hospital pay dispute with nurses

Nurses at Waimea-based Queen's North Hawai'i Community Hospital did not come to an agreement on pay with Queen's Health System during their meeting last week, but the sides will meet with a federal mediator April 28, Hawai'i Public Radio reported.

The nurses hosted an informational picketing April 23 in front of the hospital, with over 30 nurses in attendance.

Queen's North Hawai'i Community Hospital, located on the Big Island, pays less than the Honolulu-based system's counterparts on Oahu. Nurses are paid on average 18.9 percent less than the system's hospitals on Oahu, the station reported April 13.

"It's not safe the way they're operating right now. We do not believe that it's safe. The nurses are doing the best they can with what they have, but there are too few of them. They work too short," Hawai'i Nurses' Association President Daniel Ross told the station.

The hospital has been battling a workforce shortage and has been struggling to recruit nurses, according to the report.

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