Nurse strike averted? 2 hospitals reach deal
Taken from the Asbury Park Press, October 29
Meridian Health and the union representing 1,200 nurses at two of its Jersey Shore hospitals have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, the two sides said Thursday.
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees union said it resolved its biggest obstacle with the company by agreeing to retain and recruit qualified nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford.
“Although these negotiations were challenging, we are pleased that we were able to come to an agreement, which protects our rights as nurses and preserves benefits we gained in previous contracts,” Sally Fessler, president of HPAE Local 5138 and a nurse at Southern Ocean Medical Center.
“This agreement balances the needs of our patients, community, nurses and the organization, and we are extremely happy with the outcome,” said Maureen Sintich, Meridian’s senior vice president of nursing.
Wall-based Meridian owns six hospitals in Monmouth and Ocean counties and is the Shore’s biggest employer. Aside from Jersey Shore and Southern Ocean, it owns K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, Neptune; Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank; Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel; and Ocean Medical Center, Brick.