Healthcare Workers to hold Informational Picket at Hackensack Meridian Health Hospitals

August 3, 2018

Health professionals represented by HPAE have given notice to Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) of their intent to conduct informational picketing on August 15. On July 17 HPAE members across the state voted overwhelmingly to give their bargaining teams the authority to conduct concerted activity.

As of July 31, contracts for all four HPAE locals expired as the bargaining teams remained at the bargaining table even without having received all of the employer’s proposals. Since then all proposals have been presented yet the negotiations are not moving forward in an efficient manner as locals are meeting at separate bargaining tables to negotiate with the same executives over the same proposals.

“After months of bargaining we continue to stand united against the corporate healthcare executives who continue to attempt to divide our union. Our voices should be listened to and respected. Which is why we are taking our campaign to the community, urging patients and families to stand with us as we demand Hackensack Meridian put patient health before corporate wealth,” said Sandra White, President of HPAE Local 5097 at The Harborage.

After a two-week hiatus HMH returned to the bargaining table with union representatives of the 1,200 nurses and healthcare workers at Palisades Medical Center represented by HPAE Local 5030 and at The Harborage represented by HPAE Local 5097, both of whose contracts expired on July 20th.

“As healthcare workers throughout the HMH system we will stand together to protect our collective rights and to demand Hackensack Meridian bargain in good faith. For a large corporation with windfall profits and high executive salaries, they can afford to make sure workers are not caring for too many patients. As we demand to protect the rights we have established in our contracts, we cannot allow corporate executives to take a large swipe at our contracts which have set standards to protect patient safety and workers’ rights,” said Mickie Miquiabas, President of HPAE Local 5030 at PMC.

According to 2016 financial documents, Co-CEO, Robert Garrett earned $4.5 Million dollars in that year, a salary that is 135 times the salary of the average worker at Palisades Medical Center.[1]  When the two health systems merged in 2016 Robert Garret and John Lloyd were appointed Co-CEOs to run NJ largest non-profit healthcare corporation in New Jersey. In 2016, John Lloyd reportedly earned $3.9 Million.[2]

“For the corporate owners, they have made it known that they are streamlining services throughout the health system, yet they are failing to streamline these negotiations,” said Kendra McCann, President of HPAE Local 5058, representing 1,000 nurses at JSUMC. “Our nurses are continuing to provide care for our patients and we will do so while advocating for a contract that sets safe patient limits. No patient should have to worry about how many patients their nurse is caring for at one time.”

Over the last two months, nurses in Monmouth and Ocean counties have brought their concerns and their stories to HMH corporate executives to understand better the challenges healthcare workers face on the frontlines, delivering care to patients across New Jersey.

“As we have brought our patient care concerns to Hackensack Meridian at the negotiating table it has been concerning to the blank stares and lack of interest from management,” said Barbara Bosch President of Local 5138. “We tell the stories of our day to day experiences at the hospitals they run and own, we’d hope for a little more compassion and teamwork from a corporation involved in the health of New Jersey,” said Barbara Bosch, President of HPAE Local 5138.

Details on locations and times for informational picketing on August 15 are forthcoming.

[1] Garrett’s total compensation as reported on Hackensack Meridian Health, Inc. 2016 IRS Form 990, Part VII; average Palisades worker salary from annual salary data as reported to HPAE – all job titles combined for average annual salary.

[2] Lloyd’s total compensation as reported on Hackensack Meridian Health, Inc. 2016 IRS Form 990, Part VII.