HPAE Local 5089 met on 6/16/22 and 6/23/22 for our third and fourth sessions of negotiations with Rutgers University.
It had been a month since our last session. We filed unfair labor charges against the University for failure to bargain and failure to provide requested information. We were given three dates this month (one remaining session on June 30th) for negotiations and our information request was returned without any substantial information included.
On both days we met with management at the table. To our extreme disappointment, the University came disorganized and without any meaningful responses to our proposals. We gave them a package of proposals at our last sessions with multiple issues in each proposal. The University either rejected our proposals stating that current contract language was sufficient or reserved a response after reviewing it for the last month.
The University has not presented any proposals of its own. Abbe Kanan, Director of Labor Relations, stated that the updates to the contract over the past three contract cycles provided our members with additional benefits and the “current language works for us.”
We strongly disagreed with the University at the table and said that the current language does not work for us.
One by one, members of our committee spoke to the needs of the different units within Rutgers (CINJ, RWJMS, JJC, UCHC, UBHC) including the commitment and hard work of nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists through the pandemic and beyond. We emphasized we need our dedicated staff members to be shown the respect we deserve. Our membership is dedicated, despite management’s lack of effort in settling a new contract before the current contract expires. We continue to embrace newly hired staff, travel and agency nurses, to address our staffing emergencies as they will work alongside us. Management is creating a disparity since these employees will make more than incumbent staff because our step movements will be frozen as of July 1, 2022.
The University’s response was indifferent – they stated “we do the right thing.” They mentioned positive changes that had been made in years past. In response to falling behind on salary steps due to working beyond our contract expiration, management stated they have “made it right.” We made clear that retroactive increases are an important issue – and we shouldn’t have to bargain for retro pay, we should settle our contract on time. We continue to deal with struggles to retain our staff throughout the University.
Our next virtual session is scheduled for June 30th at 1pm.
Rutgers continues to claim they value and appreciate our hard work and dedication, but their inaction proves otherwise.
To show management our members stand behind us for a fair contract and respect – sign this petition:
HPAE 5089 Negotiations Committee – Sabrina Brown-Oliver, Jennifer Lerner, Josephine Machado, Dawn Yuhas, Khooshbu Patel, Arlene Cruz, Yuk Wong, Marilyn Mundy, Sri Kota, Joe Bentivegna, Marsha Lauriano, Lucia Otti, Francine Pasch, Tara Andino, Joan Santner, Donna Nelson-Henry, Susan Bauer