Nurses and Health Professionals Tell Hackensack Meridian – Fair Bargaining, Not Union-busting

July 24, 2018

Union Requests Federal Mediator

As the union contract expired between HPAE nurses and health professionals and Hackensack Meridian Health at Palisades Medical Center and The Harborage, a long-term care facility, HPAE requested a Federal Mediator to assist in scheduling bargaining dates before the end of July and attend the ongoing negotiations.   The contract, covering nearly 1,100 workers at both facilities, now owned by Hackensack Meridian Health, expired on July 20.

“After weeks of stalling, the employer continues to demonstrate its lack of respect for nurses and healthcare staff.  Rather than bargain with us, Hackensack Meridian has demanded that we waive our bargaining rights and take a corporate cookie-cutter set package – take it or leave it,” said Mickie Miquiabas, President of HPAE Local 5030 at Palisades Medical Center, representing 950 nurses, healthcare professionals, technical staff and other healthcare workers.

Bargaining last occurred between Hackensack-Meridian Health and Palisades Medical Center workers on July 18 and at the Harborage on July 20.  Hackensack Meridian has not offered either of the HPAE Locals in North Bergen any dates to negotiate before the end of the month of July.

“There has been a level of disrespect throughout these negotiations that our union has never experienced. As health professionals we are determined to reach a settlement that reflects the needs of our patients and the rights of our workforce, here in North Bergen. Hackensack Meridian is putting their ‘one-size-fits all’ approach on policies ahead of negotiating fairly, and ahead of the needs of our community.,” said Sandra White, President of HPAE Local 5097 at The Harborage.

Since May, HPAE has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Hackensack Meridian for not negotiating in good faith and failing to provide information.

This week bargaining will resume for HPAE Local 5058 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and Local 5138 at Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, also part of the Hackensack-Meridian Health System whose contracts expire on July 31.

Both HPAE nursing leaders spoke out against the way that the Hackensack Meridian Health had treated negotiations at all four health institutions.

“Hackensack Meridian seems to be operating from a union-busting playbook,” said Barbara Bosch, President of HPAE Local 5138 at Southern Ocean medical Center, representing 300 nurses. “Nurses will not be intimidated, and we will stand together to protect the interests of the patients and ourselves, just as we have done before we became a part of the largest healthcare corporation in NJ,” added Bosch.

“Having enough staff to provide safe patient care and giving workers the protections they need so they can speak up when conditions are unsafe is a priority for all HPAE locals in bargaining. The corporate owners of our health system came into these negotiations using stall tactics and creating divisive policies to break up the union, but we are standing together to protect our workers and our patients,” said Kendra McCann, President of HPAE Local 5058 representing 1,200 nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

For more information contact, Bridget Devane 732-996-5493.