Health Professionals and Allied Employees
110 Kinderkamack Road
Emerson, NJ 07630
For Immediate Release: April 5, 2013 Contact: Jeanne Otersen 201-280-927
Sixteen years into the privatization of Bergen Regional Medical Center (BRMC), the union representing 400 nurses and health professionals began bargaining this week with BRMC-LLC, the for-profit company leasing the hospital from the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA).
The contract between the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) and BRMC-LLC expires on May 31, 2013, less than four years before the end of the 19-year lease between BRMC-LLC and Bergen County. In 1997, Bergen County leased the hospital, (the former Bergen Pines) to the BCIA, which then leased the hospital to Solomon Health Care, the for-profit company that set up BRMC-LLC.
“We are entering negotiations with the overarching goal of providing a long-term vision for this hospital. These negotiations are not just about wages and working conditions – but about protecting the future of Bergen Regional Medical Center, ensuring continuity of care and quality of care for our residents, patients and community,”said Jeff Peck, president of the HPAE local at the hospital.
According to HPAE, union issues at the table will focus on staffing levels, policies for retention of staff, and addressing protections for staff and hospital mission during the anticipated transition due to the end of the 19-year lease.
“Workers, patients and taxpayers already went through a difficult transition when this hospital was privatized years ago ”, said Ann Twomey, president of HPAE, representing 12,000 nurses and health professionals in NJ. “We intend to discuss and seek protections in this contract, and in discussions with the County to ensure a seamless transition in 2017, one that has better accountability, more transparency, with a hospital that retains qualified professionals and expands care for our community.”