Editor’s Note: Earlier this week, Civil Beat reported that contract talks are at an impasse between the state and about 900 nurses covered by the Hawaii Government Employees Association. Their contract expired on Thursday, June 30. Ken Moskow gave Civil Beat permission to publish the following letter.

Are we greedy little nurses? Is it all about me? Neil would like you and the public to think so!

Maybe, because historically, we were never paid well enough to support ourselves. After all, its largely a female profession and men are the “bread winners.” Watch out, next they’ll want the right to vote revoked, to save the State money.

Or perhaps, I believe the problem is, that many nurses are afraid of losing their job or being punished with even lower wages, or in other words, “FEAR” (lower than 34-37% disparity that already exists; remember they wanted a 5 percent cut on top of the 34-37 percent disparity which equals 39-42 percent less than private facility nurses).

FEAR, will not only harm you, me, our families, but the Nursing Profession and the Health of Hawaii. Is this the example we want to show our children? They are watching! Is this the legacy we want to leave our children and Hawaii?

The State government through poor management, corruption, cronyism, and neglect has created this problem over many years and now wants you to fix it. Is that right?

The projected retirement of Baby Boomers, including nurses, will further burden the public health system over the next 9 years.

The Quality of State Health care in Hawaii will continue to suffer if nothing is done. The brain drain of highly skilled nurses to the mainland and private facilities will continue unabated. The State will spend more money on temporary solutions. Travel Nurses, Overtime Pay, Highly paid Consultants, subsidized nursing school programs will produce nurses at public expense for the benefit of private facilities here and on the mainland. Empty buildings costing millions, adjourning committees to look into the problem, a Nursing Advisory Board, etc.

Current nursing staff will continue to suffer: Constant overtime due to nursing shortages, revolving door nurses who are trained at our expense and then leave because of poor wages and high cost of living, nurses having to find additional work to supplement their income in order to pay bills, etc.

The choice is yours: Be “Fearful of State retaliation” or stand up for what is right for you and Hawaii and don’t be bullied, conned, and misdirected by half truths, and lies. There will never be a better opportunity than now to have our voices heard and the future of State Health Care in Hawaii finally made a priority.

You can give everybody Health Care Insurance, but who is going to take care of them?

About the author: Ken Moskow is a former U.S. Airman and currently works at Maui Memorial Medical Center as a psychiatric/behavioral nurse with the adult and adolescent unit.