As of 7:00 AM on July 31, the contracts expired for two more HPAE locals currently in bargaining with Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH). Nearly 1,300 nurses at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) in Neptune and Southern Ocean Medical Center (SOMC) in Manahawkin have been in contract negotiations since June, yet healthcare executives have not presented all economic proposals to the union before the contract expiration date was reached. HPAE nurses and health professionals at four locals across the state are continuing to work while bargaining for a contract that respects their rights, prioritizes patient safety and ensures healthcare professionals can access comprehensives services for themselves and their families.
“For a healthcare corporation that has prided itself on efficiency standards and quality care for patients, they are not treating their staff with the same level of respect” said Kendra McCann, President of HPAE Local 5058, representing 1,000 nurses at JSUMC. “As nurses we have put forward a comprehensive package of proposal yet as our contract expires we are witnessing more stalling tactics from our corporate executives.”
Over the last two months, nurses in Monmouth and Ocean counties have brought their concerns and their stories to HMH corporate executives to understand better the challenges healthcare workers face on the frontlines, delivering care to patients across New Jersey.
“Nurses are disappointed that the state’s largest healthcare corporation did not hand us all of their proposals before July 31, making it impossible for us to reach any settlement before our contract expired,” said Barbara Bosch, President of HPAE Local 5138. “We will continue to bargain and stand up for the rights of all healthcare workers and our patients at HMH.”
In Hudson County the contracts expired on July 20 for the 1,200 nurses and healthcare workers at Palisades Medical Center (PMC) and The Harborage.
“Now is the time for Hackensack Meridian to sit down and bargain with all HPAE locals. The divisive measures the corporate executives are using to split our union apart are not just anti-union, they are the least efficient approach to bargaining a contract,” said Mickie Miquiabas, President of HPAE Local 5030 at PMC.
On Monday, July 30, a federal mediator attended negotiations between HMH and HPAE Locals 5058 and 5138 on the coast. Both locals resume negotiations on July 31. In Hudson County, HPAE Local 5097 will resume bargaining on August 1 and August 2, while HPAE Local 5030 returns to the bargaining table on Friday, August 3.
“As health professionals we will continue to demand that corporate executives listen and respect their staff. It is our voices that have led to the creation of policies to improve safety and quality in our facilities. We will not give up our rights to speak up for ourselves and our patients and we will continue to fight against Hackensack Meridian’s corporate strategy to weaken us as a union of health professionals,” said Sandra White, President of HPAE Local 5097 at The Harborage.
Over the weekend HPAE resumed their public campaign with an airplane banner flying from Long Beach Island to Sandy Hook encouraging beachgoers to visit PatientsOverProfit.org. Last week Assemblywoman Joann Downey held a press event with HPAE and community members to announce that she will introduce legislation to help protect patients who are impacted by medical debt, an issue that HPAE is also addressing at the bargaining table.
For more information: Bridget Devane, 732-996-5493