History of HPAE
HPAE: New Jersey’s Professional Health Care Union
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) is the largest union of Registered Nurses and health care professionals in New Jersey. With more than to 13,000 members, we are also the fastest growing health care union in the state, as our membership has more than tripled in size since 1981.
HPAE members in our 22 “locals” include nurses, social workers, therapists, technicians, medical researchers and other healthcare professionals. We work in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, blood banks and university research facilities throughout New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.
HPAE began through the efforts of the nursing staff at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, New Jersey when they organized an independent association at the hospital in 1974. Issues such as shift rotation, floating, low wages and a general lack of respect from management were what drove the Englewood nurses to organize. Their union was tested early, as Englewood’s management made repeated efforts to break their union; even stooping to such petty tactics as suspending the union president for refusing to wear a nurse’s cap!
Nurses at other area hospitals, such as Pascack Valley Hospital, Jersey Shore Medical Center, and Palisades Medical Center reached out to the Englewood nurses for help in forming their own local unions. Each local group then came together to form what has now become the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE).
The leadership of HPAE felt they needed to affiliate with a strong, national union in order to have the resources to “spread the word” concerning the benefits of unionizing.
With this goal in mind, HPAE members voted to affiliate with the Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, the healthcare division of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in 1979. AFT Nurses and Health Professionals currently represents 112,000 health professionals who practice in a variety of disciplines and settings. Although more than half of our members are registered nurses, the division also represents medical researchers, physicians, dietitians, psychologists, X-ray technicians, therapists and others. AFT Nurses and Health Professionals is the second-largest nurses union in the AFL-CIO.
After affiliation with AFT Healthcare, HPAE’s growth continued. That growth included not just nurses but other health care workers who wanted the benefits of collective bargaining.
Our continued growth and effectiveness is built on democratically-run locals made up of members and leaders who strive together to win safe working conditions, respect for our professions, safe and effective patient care, and sound healthcare policies. HPAE is a leader in establishing high standards of clinical practice, patient care, and research.
Those organizing with HPAE have done so for two reasons: HPAE’s professional yet aggressive approach to bargaining, and the fact that we are a democratic union run by and for its members. Join us!
Mission & Objectives
Nurses and health care workers join HPAE to advance and improve patient care and professional practices and working conditions in their health care facilities. Whether it is advocating for safe staffing at the bedside, for patient and worker safety, for adequate funding for medical research and health care access, HPAE members play a strong role in setting standards for our health care throughout NJ and our nation.
HPAE members are able to speak out on behalf of patients and their colleagues because they have the protection of their union. Since its founding by Englewood Hospital nurses in 1974, HPAE has grown into N.J.’s largest health care union, representing more than 12,000 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 in both New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.
HPAE members work with community leaders and elected officials to improve access to affordable, quality health care for all our residents. Through our collective bargaining agreements and our legislative accomplishments, HPAE has raised standards and improved working conditions, making our health care institutions safer places to work for nurses and health professionals. These victories include:
- Safe staffing standards and appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios;
- Limitations on unsafe practices such as mandatory overtime, shift rotation and floating outside areas of specialty;
- Policies to improve recruitment and retention of qualified staff;
- Policies to minimize violence and injuries;
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
New Jersey AFL-CIO
Central Labor Councils (CLC)
Atlantic/Cape May CLC
Essex/West Hudson CLC
Southern New Jersey CLC