Press Release

MSNA Nurses Vote to Authorize Second Strike – EMMC Still Not Committed to Patient Safety

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2011

Bangor, ME – Registered nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center voted Tuesday night to authorize a second strike if management continues to ignore patient safety issues at the Medical Center.

“The nurses’ vote yesterday represents our continued commitment to patient safety at EMMC.  Our priority is for EMMC to provide this community with an appropriately staffed hospital,” said Judy Brown, RN and president of Unit 1, the local union that represents the nurses at EMMC.  

“Nurses want EMMC to follow their own staffing plans which includes staffing by acuity (patient need).  Nurses want to be able to consistently deliver safe, effective and therapeutic care to our patients,” Brown said.

EMMC RNs have been working without a contract since November. They want EMMC  to address patient safety and staffing shortages in negotiations.  The hospital administration, however, has been unwilling to address these issues despite low patient satisfaction scores, the untimely delivery of medications, and poor performance marks by Health Grades which is a consumer report using federal Medicare data.

“Safe staffing not only saves lives but is fiscally responsible as Medicaid and Medicare are no longer reimbursing for poor patient outcomes,” said Brown. “Patient satisfaction scores have been down at EMMC and that is unacceptable to us.  

“While management does not seem willing to address these issues right now, we will continue to work on this issue today in bargaining, because nothing is more important to EMMC nurses than ensuring our patients receive the highest and safest quality of care our patients need and deserve,”  Brown added.

An independent study conducted by Linda Aiken, RN, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing , the nation’s most eminent nurse researcher, documents that safe staffing provisions such as those proposed by MSNA/NNOC  in bargaining would reduce patient mortality rates.

“We did not come to bargaining today to issue a strike notice, we came here today to address our patient safety concerns.  Unfortunately, we were not able to reach agreement today.  We hope that management is interested in resolving these issues at our next bargaining session which will be scheduled for the beginning of May,”  Brown said.