To the Editor:
In 1982, when nurses first unionized at Mount Desert Island Hospital, the hospital administrator did not want to acknowledge that a nurse with more experience should have a larger base pay than a new nurse. “You can only boil an egg for three minutes, and it’s done” he quipped.
The federal mediator could not believe a nurse who’d worked 30 years made the same base pay as one who was there three years. Ultimately, we won the right to wage “steps” (i.e. more pay for more experience).
This value for experience is the basis of our union, and it is being threatened again. There is little effort to retain experienced nurses at MDI Hospital.
We want to stay in this community and care for you. Travelling nurses are expensive and temporary. New nurses should not be orienting newer nurses.
Experienced nurses will stay if they are respected and have a voice in patient care. This will be an important issue when we finally head back into contract negotiations.
Doris Plumer, RN