To the Editor:
I am a labor and delivery nurse who has worked at Mount Desert Island Hospital for 24 years in a job and at an institution I love.
One year ago, we nurses were in contract negotiations. After many meetings with administration, we could not come to an agreement. We were willing to take no raise and leave everything else the way it was to allow the hospital to become more financially stable. Not only did the administration reject this, they took away our already established step increases in our contract. They then said they were “done” and walked away despite other unsettled noneconomic issues, concerning technology and patient safety.
Unlike Maine Coast Memorial Hospital which has step increases every year in their contract, we do not. Ours are every 1-3 years. They are small stipends, but acknowledge our hard work and continued years of service. For example, I have been on a 21 year step and was due for my 24 year step this past year. That was taken away. This negated my years of experience and dedication, leaving me feeling unappreciated and disrespected.
The total savings to the hospital this past year by not giving any nurses due their scheduled step increases was $7,000.
The hospital administration has finally given us a date to resume our negotiations – March 30.
I am asking this community to support the nurses. Write letters to hospital CEO Art Blank and members of the hospital’s board of trustees or talk with them when you see them on the street and let them know how you feel.
Janice Horton, RN