For Immediate Release: February 25, 2015
Contact: Jeanne Otersen- (201)280-9279
Negotiations between nurses represented by the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) and Inspira Medical Center Woodbury began this week, the first since the 420 nurses won a union election back in October of 2014. The National Labor Relations Board certified the election results, legally obligating the Hospital Administration to negotiate a first contract with the nurses.
Since October, nurses elected a negotiating committee of 22 RNs and focused on developing contract proposals that would provide safe staffing, fair wages, workplace rights and working conditions.
“This is an opportunity for the nurses and administration to collaborate to improve working conditions which will ultimately improve patient care in the community we serve,” stated Janet Cornaccia, a Registered Nurse on the Medical-Surgical unit, and a negotiating committee member. “We are proposing a contract that sets standards for safe staffing at the hospital to benefit the nurses, patients, and entire community.” Cornaccia is one of the 22 negotiating committee members elected by nurses to represent their issues at the bargaining table.
HPAE, NJ’s largest union, is also urging passage of a state law establishing stronger standards for nurse staffing levels, pointing to a decade of studies that link unsafe nursing staffing levels to increases in patient complications, infections and re-admissions, as well as increased injuries to nurses and staff.
The Woodbury hospital merged with Inspira Health Network in 2012, and nurses are seeking parity with RN agreements at Inspira Hospitals in Vineland, Elmer, and Bridgeton, all of whom have been represented by HPAE since 2006.
“Nurses are bargaining for important healthcare standards and we believe we share common goals with Inspira, and that the outcome will be a contract that maintains and improves on quality patient care, and helps to recruit and retain qualified staff, ” commented Ann Twomey, president of the 12,000 member HPAE.