Nurses at Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) hospitals represented by HPAE voted on Wednesday to approve a one-year contract. The nurses represented by HPAE Local 5058 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) and HPAE Local 5138 at Southern Ocean Medical Center (SOMC) became a part of the HMH system in 2016, marking this as a first contract with HMH.
“These negotiations were difficult and challenging for nursing staff. Our employer initially proposed to undo parts of our contract that have been long established and have protected nurses’ rights in our hospitals,” said Sally Fessler, RN and President of HPAE Local 5138 at SOMC. “As nurses we could not walk away from these negotiations without maintaining our rights and our benefits, so we can continue to be advocates for our patients and our profession.”
The contract contains:
- Wage increases of 2.5 percent higher than the current rate;
- Maintains health insurance coverage and no increase in the portion of shared cost in premiums;
- Gained protections for new nurses in the float pool and enhanced orientation programs so nurses can be more confident in delivering safe care for their patients on every unit.
In addition to JSUMC and SOMC, HPAE also represents nurses and health professionals at another HMH hospital – Palisades Medical Center (PMC). The workers at PMC ratified their first contract with HMH in June 2017, which is also a one year agreement.
“Throughout negotiations our locals along the coast have remained united in demanding safety standards and protections for nurses and patients at every hospital. This contract allows for our colleagues at PMC to join us at a common table with administration, bringing all of us together to speak up for common concerns for patient safety and workers’ rights at all hospitals,” said Kendra McCann, RN and President of HPAE Local 5058 at JSUMC.
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, August 2, 2017
For more information: Bridget Devane, (732) 996-5493