On Monday, September 24th, HPAE held another Town Hall event that was sponsored by Mayor Ras Baraka at NJIT to address the changes being made to University Hospital’s inpatient pediatric and pediatric intensive care units. In addition, members from CWA, Teamsters, pediatric residents and several community activists also attended the meeting in support of the registered nurses from the pediatric units that continue to resist management’s plans since February 1st, which is when management first announced their decision to close the Peds/PICU units. Several members of the community spoke during the public comment section of the meeting and demanded that they be included in any changes that are being made to healthcare in the Newark area. Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, also attended the meeting and offered their full support to keep University Hospital as a community hospital and to promote transparency. Management chose not to attend the Town Hall which only added to our sentiment that they are more focused on profit as opposed to the concerns of the community, much to our dismay.
In conclusion, Mayor Baraka agreed to continue the dialogue as well as to increase the outreach to the community by forming a strategy committee which would be open to all interested parties. If you or someone you know is interested in ensuring that University Hospital remains a community-based facility, please contact your local Union rep for more information.