Taken from The Asbury Park Press
August 3, 2020
A wide cross-section of employees at Jersey Shore University Medical Center have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to join a labor union, a union president said Monday.
Debbie White, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union, said the workers, ranging from laboratory technicians to food service employees, are calling for better wages and benefits.
“Some of these workers, despite serving on the frontlines, do not get proper personal protective equipment or training that would keep them safe from becoming infected,” White said in a statement.
Jersey Shore University Medical Center is owned by Edison-based Hackensack Meridian Health. The specific number of employees that would be affected isn’t clear.
The petition comes just weeks after the hospital and union reached an agreement on a 3-year contract covering about 1,300 nurses, ending what had been a contentious battle between the two sides since COVID-19 struck New Jersey in March.
The peace apparently didn’t last. A new group of workers, including housekeepers; patient care technicians; pharmacy technicians; secretaries; phlebotomists and transporters filed petitions to the NLRB asking for a certification election.
To join a union, at least 30% of workers need to sign cards or petitions asking the NLRB to have an election. The union then would need a majority of workers to vote to unionize. Alternatively, an employer can voluntarily recognize a union.
Hackensack Meridian said it was evaluating the petitions.
“We strongly believe that an expansion of the union at Jersey Shore is not in the best interest of our patients, the communities we serve nor our team members,” it said in a statement. “We are committed to providing the facts about joining a union to our team members and we will continue to do so while we evaluate these petitions.”
Union officials noted the NLRB, not the company, is responsible for evaluating the petitions.