Union Nurses Begin Negotiations with Cooper Health Care for Patient Safety

For immediate release
March 31, 2017

This week, Registered Nurses at Cooper University Health Care (CUHC) began bargaining with management for a new contract. For the 1,300 registered nurses represented by HPAE, the focus of these negotiations is centered on patient safety and improving nurse staffing levels. The Registered Nurses and Utilization Review Nurses’ current contract expires on May 31.

Across the CUHC system in Camden and Burlington Counties, nurses identified measures to improve patient care and to recruit and retain experienced nursing staff.

“Our top priority is advocating for safe staffing levels so we can provide the highest quality of care for our patients in our communities,” said Doris Bell, RN and President of HPAE Local 5118. “When nurses have enough staff, we can give our patients the time and attention they need instead of being spread too thin, putting patients at risk.”

Nurses are also advocating for safe staffing beyond the bargaining table. HPAE nurses are working with the Coalition for Patient Rights and Safe Staffing to pass a bill that would require the NJ Department of Health to protect patient safety and ensure safe nurse to patient ratios in all hospitals across New Jersey.

“As nurses on the front lines, we are experts on patient safety. These negotiations are an opportunity for administration to work with their nursing staff to create solutions to improve the quality of care and a safe environment,” said Bell.

As reported tensions continue between Cooper and Virtua Health systems over emergency services, HPAE Nurses at CUHC and Virtua Memorial Hospital in Burlington County, are coordinating efforts to win safe staffing levels at both health systems in the region.  The nurses are scheduled to bargain over the next few months for contracts—both HPAE contracts are set to expire on May 31.

For more information, please contact:  Bridget Devane at (732)996-5493