Improvements in Nurse Staffing, Patient Care
Nurses voted on Tuesday, June 13 to ratify a new three-year contract agreement with administration at Virtua Health. Nearly 800 nurses represented by HPAE overwhelmingly approved the agreement bringing improvement in patient safety and workplace conditions at the Virtua hospital in Mount Holly, Virtua Community Services and Virtua’s Center for Women.
“Throughout negotiations nurses spoke out against unsafe staffing conditions to urge administration to make sure there are enough nurses working each shift to care for their patients,” said Debbie White, President of HPAE Local 5105.
According to the union, the contract now includes provisions to improve staffing levels inside the hospital, including:
- Creating an electronic system to report unsafe staffing in a timely manner
- Develop a new joint committee to focus on critical staffing shortages in the Emergency Department,
- Additional sleep time for full-time RNs working additional on-call time, and
- Hire more nurses in areas of the hospital currently understaffed.
“Negotiations went beyond the contract deadline of May 31, yet we are pleased that we reached an agreement that addresses nurses’ priorities including improvements in staffing,” added White.
The contract provides for economic gains for the nurses including 6.75 percent wage increases over the life of the contract, 5 percent cap on employees’ contributions for current health insurance premiums and additional bonuses for clinical certifications.
“We have a very cohesive group of nurses at HPAE Local 5105 and we are satisfied that through their efforts and those of the negotiating team we were able to negotiate a really great contract.”
HPAE is the largest union of registered nurses and health care professionals in New Jersey. Since its founding by Englewood Hospital nurses in 1974, HPAE has expanded across the state and into Southeastern Pennsylvania representing 13,000 nurses, social workers, therapists, technicians, medical researchers, and other health care professionals in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, blood banks, and university research facilities. HPAE is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
For immediate release: Wednesday, June 14, 2017
For more information: Bridget Devane, (732) 996-5493