Maine Medical Center nurses hold a picket in April 2022 to fight for better working conditions at the hospital. Credit: CBS 13/WGME

Less than two months after ratifying their first union contract, Maine Medical Center nurses say hospital management is illegally taking away maternity, bereavement, jury duty and military duty benefits. The nurses, now part of the Maine State Nurses Association, say they believe the loss of benefits is in retaliation for forming the union.

Registered nurse Katrine Fesmire says some nurses recently found out they would not receive bereavement benefits while they grieved loved ones who passed away.

“Any past practice not specifically changed through bargaining must remain in place,” Fesmire said. “We did not bargain changes to these benefits. They cannot be unilaterally changed by management.”

In a statement, Maine Medical Center said, “During the course of negotiations, there were no proposals made by nurses’ representatives concerning paid leave that the union has expressed concerns about today. Had such a proposal been made MMC would have considered and bargained over it in good faith. Our collective bargaining agreement outlines the process for working together to find a resolution.”

The union’s lead labor representative, Todd Ricker, says a grievance will be filed against Maine Medical Center and an unfair labor practice complaint will go to the National Labor Relations Board.

This story appears through a media partnership with  Maine Public.