Health professionals call on Hackensack Meridian to commit to patient safety and workplace protections

September 27, 2018

North Bergen, NJ – Nurses and health professional held an informational picket outside of Palisades Medical Center to call on Hackensack Meridian Health to protect patient safety by committing to safe patient limits and put a stop to anti-union tactics that attempt to intimidate.

“As frontline caregivers, nurses and health professionals advocate for their patients every day. Our ability to speak out for patient safety must be protected when we are inside the hospital, and yet we must also speak out publicly to assure our community that as professionals we are fighting to protect their care. HPAE members will continue to make the demand at the bargaining table for safe patient limits and we are calling on the community to support us in our efforts to have a contract that protects workers and patients,” Ann Twomey, HPAE President.

After several months of bargaining between the healthcare corporation and HPAE, the union representing nearly 2,500 healthcare professionals in HMH facilities, bargaining resumes with the 900 nurses and health professionals of HPAE Local 5030 at Palisades Medical Center; 1,100 nurses of HPAE Local 5058 at Jersey Shore University Medical center; and 250 nurses of HPAE Local 5138 250 at Southern Ocean Medical Center. Contracts for all three facilities expired in July 2018.

In addition to the informational picket, HPAE has also released video highlighting health professionals sharing their stories of unsafe working conditions that they have experienced while caring for too many patients. Thousands have viewed the video which is publicly available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVay0CZbTkk&feature=share.

“Health professionals have reported incidents and medical errors to hospital administrators and government regulators and the evidence is clear when hospitals set a limit on how many patients a nurse is caring for, patient safety and treatment does improve. Hackensack Meridian is certainly positioned to invest in its workforce through better staffing. Yet throughout these negotiations administration has refused to respond to our attempts to standardize safe patient limits,” said Mickie Miquiabas, President of HPAE Local 5030 at Palisades Medical Center.

On September 18, healthcare professionals at The Harborage, a nursing home in North Bergen, voted to ratify a new contract agreement reached with Hackensack Meridian. HPAE Locals 5058 and 5138 will bargain with the employer on Friday, September 28, 2018.