Nurses hold informational picket for safer staffing standards and other improvements at Maine Medical Center
Maine Med RNs picketed this morning and will picket again this evening
Registered nurses at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, held an informational picket today at the facility during their morning shift change and will hold another picket during their evening shift change, announced Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (MSNA/NNOC). The nurses have been bargaining a first union contract with their employer since August 2021. The most important issues to be resolved in these negotiations are safe RN-to-patient staffing ratios to ensure safe patient care and competitive benefits and wages for the nurses.
The picketing today by nurses and their supporters took place during the morning shift change (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and another picket will take place during tonight’s evening shift change (7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.), to bring more public awareness to the nurses’ fight for better conditions at Maine Med for everyone.
Earlier today Maine Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, along with more than 50 members of the Maine State Legislature, sent a letter to Maine Medical Center's president, board chair, and board members, urging them to negotiate and settle a fair contract with Maine Med nurses in a timely manner. The letter noted that the nurses at Maine Med “have performed their work under extraordinarily difficult circumstances on the frontlines of this pandemic over the past two years,” and that nurses “having a seat at the table in decisions that affect their working environment will benefit the entire organization by strengthening patient safety, retention of staff and ensuring the voices of frontline employees are heard.”
“We are proud to be supported by so many of our elected state senators and representatives,” said Janel Crowley, RN and bargaining team member. “Maine people know the value of hard work and strong unions. Support like this from our friends and allies keeps us strong for our patients and for each other.”
“Our union is our collective voice,” said Mary Kate O’Sullivan, RN in the medical-surgical department and a member of the union contract bargaining team. “I’ve been here for two years as an RN and three years as a CNA. For so long, we have talked about the kinds of changes we wanted to make here at Maine Med. Now, we’re finally making them happen by being organized and speaking out together.”
Nurses have won some improvements already through their negotiations, but more remains to be done.
“When we first began these negotiations, Maine Med nurses signed their names on a petition in support of certain important bargaining principles,” said Madison Light, RN in the interventional radiology unit and a member of the bargaining team. “We are committed to making progress on all these issues in our first union contract. That’s why want to get the best agreement we can for our patients, ourselves, and our community. Everything we win in this contract will not only benefit us, but our patients, as well. There is no difference between the conditions in which we work and the conditions within which patients receive their care.”
Maine Med nurses were joined on the picket line by many community supporters as well. “The nurses are the people who care for us and our family members when we are patients at Maine Med,” said Todd Chretian, a local public school teacher. “We want the best for them because they care so much for us.”
The Maine State Nurses Association represents 4,000 nurses and caregivers across the State of Maine. MSNA/NNOC is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.