Meridian Nurses Protest Health Benefits Contract Violation - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Meridian Nurses Protest Health Benefits Contract Violation


More than 800 Registered Nurses from Local 5058/Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Local 5138/Southern Ocean Medical Center have joined together in a class action grievance and mass petition that calls on Meridian Health to restore health benefits as they were negotiated, and to reimburse employees who incurred additional costs because of Meridian’s violation of the contracts. Yesterday, the nurses at each hospital brought copies of the petition to management.

At Jersey Shore University Medical Center, 26 RNs supported Local 5058 President Kendra McCann as she gave the petition to a management representative. The Senior VP for Human Resources, Sherrie String, left via the back door rather than meet with Kendra and other Jersey Shore nurses.

The locals bargained in good faith with Meridian in order to reach a fair contract. The members of Local 5058 and Local 5138 ratified the contract settlements, relying on management’s position that there would not be any changes in co-pays when Meridian combined two existing health care plans. Meridian agreed at the bargaining table that any future changes to the health care plan would be reasonable and comparable. Yet, the in-network level of benefits changed from a $40/$50 co-pay to 70/30 cost sharing after a $1000/$2000 deductible.

This change is forcing Meridian nurses to delay care for themselves and their families, as well as change their primary care and specialist physicians after decades of trusted care. Many nurses have said that Meridian’s network is insufficient to cover the needs of its employees, especially in underserved communities like Ocean County and in the area of Children’s Specialized care.

As a result, nurses are coming to work delaying important medical care because the cost and the access to care changed overnight.

Both locals are determined to achieve fairness and enforcement of the contract regarding this issue.