HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has been over one month since almost 500 workers in the Maui Health System went on strike.

The Healthcare Association of Hawaii said custodial positions are most affected, and nurses are feeling the extra burden in Maui Memorial Hospital.

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Pictures sent to KHON2 by the union representing the striking workers showed scenes of disarray at Maui Memorial.

United Public Workers (UPW) said the photos were taken over the three weeks before Thursday, March 30; and the Healthcare Association said staff who are working have taken on new responsibilities.

“And, so, when you’ve got, you know, 400 or 500 workers out on strike, even if you bring in additional workers, you may not be able to replace every one of those workers,” said Hilton Raethel, Healthcare Association of Hawaii president and CEO.

One nurse who currently works at Maui Memorial said she has practically had two jobs over the past months.

“Like, it’s more frequent. It’s not just that, ‘Oh, I have time, today; I’m going to go clean this patient’s room.’ It’s, ‘How long has this patient been here for? Yeah, I’m going to go clean the room real quick’.”

Jennifer Alakai, registered nurse

The Healthcare Association said housekeepers, janitors and entry-level positions are primarily the ones on strike — asking for better pay from the Maui Health System.

“You know, they’re not doctors and nurses,” Hilton said. “They’re not the people who make above average wages. And, so, it’s a real challenge for them to pay their rent, pay for gas, pay their kids to be in school.”

Raethel said staff have been brought in from the mainland to accommodate.

“Because your alternative is shutting down parts of the hospital and not being able to provide any care at all to our members of the community,” Raethel said.

Alakai pointed out the workers on strike just want to survive.

“They just want to give back to the community. They want to come back. Just give them a livable wage. They need; they deserve it,” Alakai said.

The Healthcare Association said they understand where the workers are coming from.

“We also understand where our hospitals are coming from in terms of the very narrow margins or even negative margins that many of our institutions have at this point in time,” Raethel said.

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Maui Health’s last contract offer was rejected by the workers, and the System told KHON2 that more than 30% of UPW-represented staff have chosen to come to work. Maui Health added that emergency department wait times have not been affected by the strike.