Millinocket Regional Hospital nurses protest against staffing concerns

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MILLINOCKET - Nurses crowded the entrance to Millinocket Regional Hospital on Monday, rallying for changes to staffing minimums.

"Our biggest issue is that we want minimum staffing in the hospital so that we can respond to our patients needs day or night, at any time," said Monique Babineau, president of the Maine State Nurses Association Union local unit 1082.

MSNA has been negotiating a new contract with hospital management since March.

The nurses are fighting for a staff minimum, saying their current numbers are inadequate.

"We need enough staffing in the hospital to be able to look after any crisis, but still be able to look after the patients," Babineau said.

But negotiations so far have not gone over smoothly.

The nurses say that management has threatened to increase the cost of health benefits for nurses in the staff to intimidate them. Management on the other hand says they're following the previous contract's procedures until a new one is in place.

Hospital CEO Robert Peterson said, "We are 100% committed to working with our nurses to assure patient safety at all times. We are hopeful that a new contract can be successfully in place at the next bargaining session on August 17th."

"We give exceptional care, Millinocket is known for that exceptional care. What we're fighting for is to be able maintain that exceptional care," Babineau said.

Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!

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