Nurses are Confident Majority Will Vote to Keep Their Union

Worker intimidation and anti-union tactics are attempts to silence Nurses in Manahawkin

October 18, 2018

Manahawkin, NJ — Nurses at Southern Ocean Medical Center (SOMC) are confident a majority of the nurses will vote to remain members of their union, HPAE Local 5138 as another attempt to decertify the union has been filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“The intimidation over the last month in our hospital has increased as managers have attempted to pressure nurses, even recently hired nurses who were asked to sign a decertification petition on their first day on the job,” said Anna Pona, RN and an elected officer of HPAE Local 5138. “Yet, many of the nurses have come forward to say they are standing together as a union to demand safe patient limits and workplace protections in a union contract.”

On the same day bargaining resumed with HPAE and Hackensack Meridian, HPAE was notified that a decertification petition has been filed, two weeks after the NLRB had dismissed the prior petition filing for not having the required 30 percent of eligible staff signed onto the petition.

HPAE has filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Hackensack Meridian which are currently being investigated by the NLRB.  The charges allege Hackensack Meridian has coerced its nurses and unlawfully led the effort to decertify the union.

For the last two years Hackensack Meridian has disseminated literature and held meetings that were used to explain how nurses can leave the union, while also spreading misinformation about HPAE leaders. Similar attempts have been made at other Hackensack Meridian facilities but not to the same level as at SOMC.

“What once was a local community hospital is now run by corporate executives who appear to be more interested in intimidating and bullying nurses as an attempt to silence our collective voice as a union of health professionals, than to bargain with us for patient safety and workers’ rights,” said Debbie White, RN and President of HPAE.

The NLRB has yet to set an election date or time.

Currently the 300 nurses at SOMC are bargaining for a new contract as the previous contract expired at the end of July. Additionally, HPAE, the union representing nearly 2,500 healthcare professionals in Hackensack Meridian facilities, are bargaining for 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. Contracts for all three facilities expired in July 2018.

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.