The next two days of contract talks are critical for nurses at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point (formerly Shore Memorial Hospital). The Shore Nurses Union/NYSNA announced that without significant progress in negotiations that have dragged on for nearly a year, a 10-day strike notice is imminent. As a result, nurses could be on the picket line as early as the first week of October as they fight for quality patient care for South Jersey residents.
The nurses believe that the hospital must make some changes if patients are to continue to receive the quality of care that they rightfully deserve. A September 2015 Consumer Reports study found Shore Medical Center to be one of the country’s 18 worst hospitals for preventing dangerous bacteria-based infections. The risk of developing a serious infection puts patients, the community, and hospital employees at unnecessary risk. A hospital’s No. 1 priority should be safety, and safe patient care should be led by the nurses. The hospital has cut nursing staff and is trying to take away benefits from the nurses while President and CEO Ronald Johnson is earning in excess of $1.2 million per year, extraordinary compensation for the head of a South Jersey community hospital.
RNs in the bargaining unit representing more than 340 nurses have presented proposals to management that would raise patient care standards and provide affordable healthcare for caregivers. In response to management’s unwillingness to bargain in good faith, the nurses launched “Patients Above Profits,” a public campaign to support the RNs in their fight for a fair contract. Management has thus far shown that it has no intention of offering a fair contract. They have stalled talks, withheld essential negotiating information, trampled on nurses’ right to wear union buttons and threatened the RNs with termination if they strike.
To learn more about the “Patients Above Profits” campaign, CLICK HERE, or follow the campaign on Twitter @ShoreNurses. You can also stay up-to-date on the situation @NJAFLCIO.
The nurses at Shore Medical Center need our support now more than ever. We ask you to stand in solidarity with the nurses until their contract is settled. Patients and the community win when the nurses are treated fairly for the hard work they do and Shore Medical Center is adequately staffed to meet safety standards.