Please attribute the following statement to HPAE President Debbie White, RN:
HPAE member Adam Witt, a registered nurse and former president of HPAE Local 5058, was terminated by Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 and his picture was posted at security entrances much like a “wanted” poster. Witt recently won his job back and will return to his position at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune with full seniority, back pay and benefits.
HPAE applauds the decision by the Arbitrator to reinstate Adam Witt to his job as an emergency room nurse at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune as hospitals continue to face short staffing challenges. The arbitrator found HMH did not have just cause to fire Witt from his job and in response to posting a picture of Witt at the employee entrance said:
“In these circumstances, posting a ‘wanted’ poster of the Local President at security stations where it is seen by Union members necessarily has the effect of chilling Union activity,” the arbitrator said in their ruling.
HMH is soon to face charges HPAE filed alleging the corporation intimidated and harassed healthcare workers during a union election last fall at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The posting of Witt’s picture is ruled a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
HPAE’s experience with HMH as an employer, as we try to keep our members and their patients safe during this dangerous pandemic, has been frustrating, to say the least. We have found HMH to be one of the most egregious violators of workplace safety laws and, accordingly, filed numerous complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about violations that the corporation committed at several of its facilities.
The agency returned numerous citations on the violations, including some that result in the deaths of healthcare workers. While HMH made some corrections, the corporation is spending valuable resources and time fighting OSHA in court instead of taking the money and putting it toward improving workplace safety.
As we face another wave of coronavirus outbreak with yet another variant of the disease, the crisis of staffing shortages at hospital facilities are cresting. HPAE will continue to continue to fight to protect our healthcare workers and their patients and to hold employers at our facilities accountable for workplace safety and unjust disciplinary actions.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556