Salem Nurses on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines to demand protections and recognition for their heroic efforts - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Salem Nurses on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines to demand protections and recognition for their heroic efforts

Nurses will hold informational picket to protest lack of progress in bargaining new contract with employer

Salem Medical Center Nurses, who have been negotiating a new contract with the new owners of the hospital since December 2019, announced Thursday morning they will hold a job action in two weeks because of lack progress at the bargaining table with their employer.

The nurses, members of HPAE Local 5142, have been sacrificing and bravely caring for patients on the COVID-19 pandemic frontlines. The action will be an informational picket from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2020 outside the hospital.

“As the pandemic outbreak has spread throughout New Jersey, my colleagues and I have always been at the ready to care for our patients in Salem County,” Local 5142 President Karen Masusock, BSN, RN, said. “We are willing to maintain the same level of care for our patients, no matter what challenges we may face. At the same time, we’ve been bargaining for safe patient limits to improve patients’ health outcomes and financial incentives that help to reward our frontline caregivers who are providing excellent care despite the pandemic outbreak.”

But negotiations have stalled after several months of bargaining between CHA, LLC, the new owners, and HPAE Local 5142, the union representing nearly 140 nurses. The nurses will take their campaign public to urge the community to stand with their healthcare heroes who have always stayed at their bedside to provide safe care.

Masusock said nurses on the informational picket will practice social distancing by wearing masks and limiting the number of people on the line.

In addition to the informational picket, HPAE is waiting on a decision from the National Labor Relations Board on a charge they filed against the owner for implementing changes to the nurses paid time off without bargaining with the union over those changes and for refusing to recognize the nurses contract.

“Initially the new owners were cooperative and negotiated a fair contract with the nurses before they officially took over as the owners. But, since the takeover, the owners have disrespected the nursing staff, took away benefits that nurses had earned and are bargaining in bad faith. We thought this was a new day, instead we continue to fight to demand the respect we deserve as healthcare heroes of Salem County,” Masusock added.

For more information, please contact:
Michael O. Allen