Contract Recognizes Value of Nurses & Health Professionals
(New Brunswick, NJ) – On Friday July 12th, members of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, AFT (HPAE) overwhelmingly ratified a four-year agreement covering 600 registered nurses at Rutgers University. The announcement follows an earlier vote last month by HPAE members who overwhelmingly ratified another agreement covering 1,900 health professionals at the University.
These victories are the culmination of a year of bargaining by health professionals of Local 5094 and the Registered Nurses of Locals 5089 and 5135. Some highlights of the contracts include:
- A combination of across-the-board increases and step movements averaging 3% a year, and up to 13% for some professionals and up to 15% for some staff nurses over the life of the agreement.
- Placement of Medical Health Nurses working for Rutgers University Correctional Health Care on a higher wage scale to create parity with other HPAE nurses at Rutgers.
- Establishment of a professional advancement pilot program for nurses at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
- Expansion of eligibility for professional employees to participate in the Rutgers free tuition remission program.
- Equalized benefits with other Rutgers employees with additional sick days, bereavement days and vision care.
- Incorporation of issues raised by new state legislation including the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act and Earned Paid Sick Leave.
- Agreement to re-open negotiations to address healthcare benefits and contribution rates, and employment issues related to the impact of the Rutgers affiliation with RWJ Barnabas Health.
“As always, patient care is of paramount importance, and that is precisely what this contract ensures,” said Cynthia McDougall, President Rutgers University Local 5089 and Sabrina Brown-Oliver, President Local 5135 Rutgers University Correctional Health. “For the first time, Rutgers University agreed to have all the registered nurses jointly bargain, so this was a unique opportunity for our Locals. As a unified group, we were able to bargain a contract that ensures our ability to continue providing quality care to our patients, while maintaining job protections and acknowledging the important work nurses provide the public.
“At its core, this is about opportunity, compensation and dignity” said Justin O’Hea, Co-president of Local 5094. “We now have a contract that comes closer to recognizing the value and importance of the healthcare and mental health professionals as well as nurses working throughout Rutgers University, University Hospital and the Correctional Health Care Division.”
HPAE is New Jersey’s largest union of nurses and healthcare workers. Local 5094 represents researchers, social workers, dietitians and other professionals, Local 5089 represents Registered Nurses of Rutgers University working in the Cancer Centers and Family Health Service. And Local 5135 represents Registered Nurses working in the Correctional Health Care Division.
Contact: Bridget Devane (732-996-5493) & Joshua Henne (732-407-5938)