Nurses at Southern Ocean and Jersey Shore University Medical Centers will hold informational pickets to protest lack of progress in bargaining new contract with Hackensack Meridian Health.
Unionized Nurses, who have been negotiating a new contract with Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH), notified the employer on Thursday they will hold a job action on June 21 and 22 because of lack progress at the bargaining table with their employer.
The 1,300 nurses represented by HPAE Local 5058 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and the 250 nurses represented by HPAE Local 5138 at Southern Ocean Medical Center have bravely cared for thousands of patients on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines.
At the bargaining table they are calling for a voice in pandemic preparedness in their facility; restrictions on “floating” nurses to units outside of their designated skill level; limits on non-nursing duties that may lead to cross contamination and put patients at higher risk of exposure to contamination; and fair wages for every nurse as they are the healthcare heroes who made tremendous sacrifices during a global pandemic.
The action will be an informational picket outside of the hospitals at:
• Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin from 2:00 p.m. till 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2020
• Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2020.
“Nurses faced insurmountable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak,” Anna Pona, RN and President of HPAE Local 5138, said. “Providing care without adequate protection was a risk that no one should have to face. Now, as we come through this phase of the pandemic, it is time for our voices to be heard and respected, and caregivers who are on the frontlines providing safe care everyday despite the risks must be a partner in preparing for future pandemic outbreaks.”
These negotiations started on the wrong foot as HMH terminated Adam Witt, HPAE Local 5058 President. Witt has continued as President, attending every negotiation session which were held via video conference.
“The public calls nurses ‘heroes,’ but the proposals from HMH don’t reflect that,” Adam Witt, RN and President of HPAE Local 5058, said. “We deserve respect for our hard work, sacrifice and commitment. We’ve been pushed to our limits and are at the point where we have to show HMH that safety, staffing, correct paychecks and a fair wage are necessities for our incredible nurses.”
Additionally, the National Labor Relations Board issued its decision in April 2020 ordering HMH to “cease and desist from (a) Bypassing the Union, [HPAE] and dealing directly with bargaining unit employees regarding mandatory subjects of bargaining without providing the Union adequate advanced notice and bargaining proposals.”
HPAE has announced that nurses on the informational picket will practice social distancing by wearing masks and space people on the line appropriately.
For more information, please contact:
Michael O. Allen