Members of HPAE Local 5091, registered nurses and professional staff at New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, NJ, have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract that will boost wages and provide improvements in work rules and the tuition reimbursement program.
HPAE President Debbie White said these healthcare workers deserve respect, protection, and support for all of their hard work in this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that continues to challenge people, their communities, and governments.
“Currently we are in a healthcare staffing crisis unlike any other time in history, which will affect patient outcomes and patient safety,” White said. “In order to recruit and retain healthcare workers, we must improve the work environment and provide financial incentives to bring healthcare workers to the bedside.”.
Local 5091 President Jeffery Peck praised members of his local for their hard work and perseverance and said the new contract gives workers a voice in the workplace.
“Our members know business as usual is not going to cut it, not after all we’ve been through,” Peck said. “That is part of what our bargaining committee stressed in negotiation with the employer, that we need policies that balance the care we give our patients with protection and support for us as we perform their duties.”
New Bridge Medical Center is a public hospital owned by Bergen County and is operated by Care Plus, a nonprofit partnership of mental health and addiction providers, with more than 1,000 beds, offering acute care, a psychiatric ward, behavioral health, substance abuse treatment and a nursing home.
Peck said that beyond the pay raises, which should keep the members at or above inflation the next three years, the new contract calls on the employer to adjust pay rates to account for members’ prior work experience.
“For many of our members, this should result in significant pay increases,” Peck said.
The bargaining committee also negotiated improvement to the tuition reimbursement program, increasing the cap from $100,000 to $250,000. That means workers can continue their education and get advanced degrees in their specialty.
“This commitment, along with the economic gains, will help us to retain staff and recruit new workers,” Peck added.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556.