For immediate release: April 23, 2015
For more information contact: Bridget Devane, (732)996-5493
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement began on Wednesday for nurses and healthcare workers from Bayonne Medical Center and Christ Hospital, against an expiration deadline of June 30. The current contract was a one-year extension signed last year between Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), NJ’s largest healthcare union, and Carepoint Health, covering 400 RNs at Christ Hospital and 850 RNs and health care professionals at Bayonne Medical Center.
This year, workers said that issues of patient safety and workers’ rights would be priorities for the negotiations.
“At this time our goal is to improve upon the strong standards for patient safety we have built in our contract including safe staffing levels,” said Nicole Mankowski, RN, President of HPAE at Christ Hospital. ” We are optimistic that our unions, as we stand together at both Carepoint hospitals, will win contracts that are fair and just for all employees and our patients .”
Negotiations are regularly scheduled leading up to June 30. HPAE leaders said that last year’s contract improved Nurse-to-Patient ratios at both hospitals and added additional nurses for the Medical Surgical units, ICU, Emergency Department, Psychiatric/Behavioral Health, Oncology and Maternal Child Health units.
“We went to Trenton to fight for safe staffing legislation and now here in our community, we want our hospitals to be examples of how safe staffing , improves quality care and retains experienced staff,” said John Bauer, RN, President of HPAE Local at Bayonne Medical Center. “Our success at negotiations will result in an assurance to our communities that they will always receive safe and effective care from experienced, qualified staff.”
HPAE and a Coalition for Patient Rights and Safe Staffing are lobbying for legislation (S1183/Vitale) to require safe nurse to patient staffing ratios and acuity systems at every hospital.