HOULTON — It doesn’t look like the union representing 100 Maine nurses at the Houlton Regional Hospital and the administration will be able to reach a new labor deal before the current contract expires at the end of the month.

A fourth negotiating session – this one overseen by a federal mediator – on Thursday failed to reach an agreement.

A fifth session is scheduled for January.

The contract expired earlier this year, but the nurses extended it through Dec. 31.

The Bangor Daily News says the nurses’ major issues are staffing levels in the acute care and the long-term care units and the emergency department.

More than 800 nurses at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor are working without a contract. They staged a one-day strike last month.