With two weeks left before their contracts expire, nurses from HPAE Locals 5131 and 5621 met today with representatives from other unions and elected leaders at a community breakfast to discuss crucial staffing and patient care issues that nurses are advocating for in the current contract negotiations with Inspira.
The nurses were joined by a staffperson from U.S. Senator Corey Booker’s office, Maisha Scudder, NJ Assemblyman Bruce Land, Woodbury City Administrator Michael Theokas, Salem County Freeholder President Ben Laury, Magnolia Mayor BettyAnn Cowling-Carson, South Jersey Labor Council President Bob Schiavinato, and IFPTE Local 195 Representative Ray Cibo.
Nurses spoke about the importance of safe staffing at all four Inspira hospitals, and the fight to keep quality healthcare in New Jersey. “Every day, nurses make difficult decisions when they are caring for too many patients and we know having enough staff improves patient care and saves lives,” said Rich Wear, RN,HPAE Local 5621 President. “Nurses have shared stories of unsafe staffing at bargaining and spoke passionately about the need for better staffing.”
The nurses have proposed nurse to patient ratios in their contracts, limits on the hospital’s use of overtime to cover staffing, and equality for nurses across the system for fair pay and benefits.
“Across the health system, our top priority is to bargain provisions in our contract that will ensure safe patient care,” said Dana Barrett, RN, HPAE Local 5131 President. “As we bargain for a contract with standards for safe staffing, we continue our fight in Trenton to win safe staffing legislation to ensure every hospital in NJ has enough nurses to protect patient safety.”
After the breakfast, nurses met with the hospital administration to continue contract negotiations.