Friday, July 28, 2017
After nurses voted last week to authorize strikes at two Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) hospitals, the nurses called in a federal mediator to join bargaining this week. The authorization allows the negotiating committees for the nurses to send to HMH administration a 10-day notice of their intent to strike or another form of concerted activity. With the mediator’s presence, the nurses have opted to continue to negotiate up until July 31. If a settlement is not reached by July 31 the nurses will continue to work and at that time make a determination whether to give the employer notice of a concerted activity the week of August 10th, which would be 10 days from that point.
The 1,100 nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) and 350 nurses at Southern Ocean Medical Center (SOMC) represented by HPAE are bargaining for improvements in staffing levels, health insurance coverage and lower costs, and protections for all healthcare workers who raise concerns for patient safety and working conditions.
“As nurses, when we have resources and support we feel more confident that we can provide safe care for our patients. Our members have always made sacrifices to provide the best patient care possible under increasingly difficult conditions – even when there are not enough staff working to take care of patients,” said Kendra McCann, RN and President of HPAE Local 5058 at JSUMC.
These are the first negotiations between the nurses and HMH, as the hospitals formerly affiliated with Meridian Health System merged with Hackensack University Health System in 2016.
“These are challenging times for those of us working in healthcare. As hospitals are consolidating into large health systems, we believe that our voices must be protected so we can continue to advocate for patient safety and quality healthcare,” said Sally Fessler, RN and President of HPAE Local 5138 at SOMC.
Both parties are continuing to bargain Friday with the federal mediator in attendance; if a settlement is not reached bargaining will resume on Monday, July 31.
For more information, contact Bridget Devane at (732) 996-5493.