NJ Healthcare Unions Applaud Governor Murphy’S Efforts to Bring Together Executives and Frontline Caregivers in The Covid-19 Battle

March 19, 2020

New Jersey — Representatives of New Jersey’s leading health care unions applaud Governor Murphy for creating a platform for collaboration within the health care industry to develop standardized responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, front-line caregivers in NJ’s health care facilities, including hospitals, long term care, home care and out-patient facilities are confronted daily with multiple challenges as they respond to an evolving outbreak. Union representatives are ready and willing to share accounts of what their members are experiencing on the front lines as COVID-19 cases increase exponentially across the state.

Debbie White, RN and HPAE President:

“Front line caregivers must have a voice in our efforts to combat COVID-19. Therefore, we look forward to working with the healthcare executives to ensure we have protections in place and resources available to ensure healthcare workers remain healthy, safe, and available to care for our sickest patients.”

CIR/SEIU NJ Vice President, Dr. Georgia Davies:

“CIR will work with NJ elected officials to ensure that we have all of the adequate resources in place to fight through this pandemic. Keeping everyone safe is our first priority. Working with NJ officials together we can get through this dire situation together.”

Charles Wowkanech, President of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

“Our frontline caregivers are heroes in every sense of the word,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “The best way to thank them for putting their own health and safety at risk is to make sure they have the personal protective equipment that this crisis demands. They need the other tools to do their jobs – testing kits, a vaccine as soon as possible, and respirators for the seriously ill. And they have to be guaranteed that they will get paid if they get sick themselves and need to take time off or if they have to care at home for someone.”

Milly Silva, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East:

“This public health emergency requires strong partnership between front-line caregivers, healthcare institutions of all types, and state and local authorities.  It is vital that we marshal our state’s health resources by bringing hospital systems and long-term care providers into one conversation to create a consistent plan of action.  The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU are deeply appreciative of Gov. Murphy’s efforts spearheading this essential work.”

Barbara Mann, Guild Director, District 1199C National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO:

“We are committed to partnering with health systems leaders, government and other labor unions to help see everyone safely through this crisis.”

Judy Danella, RN and President of Local 4-200 RWJUH BARNABAS New Brunswick nurses:

“As supplies and PPE equipment begin to dwindle, the nurses are concerned.  We look forward to collaboration and open communication with healthcare leaders to ensure the safety of our patients, nurses, their families and the communities.”

Catherine Monteleone M.D., Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, President of AAUP-BHSNJ:

“We hope health system leaders continue to work with healthcare unions and physician groups to find solutions as supplies and staffing becomes more scarce.”

Maria Refinski MSN RN CPAN, President NJNU, CWA 1091:

“We understand the strain on the healthcare systems, and are committed to working with them, but the safety of our frontline nurses are of paramount concern to care for our patients properly and safely, as we are running out of PPE rapidly.”

Douglas A. Placa, Executive Director, JNESO, District Council 1 IUOE-AFL-CIO:

“Equipment, training and communication is paramount.  We will continue to provide patient care working together. We’ll get though this.”

Lisa Ruiz, RN Nursing Representative Shore Nurses Union NYSNA:

“Of most critical immediate importance in the fight against COVID-19, is the need to provide personal protective equipment that will allow our front-line health care workers to continue to work and care for the expected surges in volumes of patients that are imminent.  We look forward to working with hospital executives over the next few months to share our expertise and experience as registered nurses to combat this virus”.

Susan M. Cleary, President, District 1199J, National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO:

“We are grateful to the women and men working on the front lines around the clock. It is our obligation to work together to ensure they have the resources necessary to protect themselves and the patients they are caring for.”

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