Health professionals represented by Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) have given notice to Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) of their intent to conduct informational picketing on August 15 outside Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune from 6am-10am and 530-930pm; and outside Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin from 4pm-8:30pm.
As of July 31, contracts for all four HPAE locals expired. Since then, all proposals have been presented, yet the negotiations are not moving forward in an efficient manner as locals are meeting at separate bargaining tables to negotiate with the same executives over the same proposals.
When their two health systems merged in 2016, Robert Garret and John Lloyd were appointed co-CEOs to run what is now New Jersey’s largest non-profit healthcare corporation. According to 2016 financial documents, Garrett earned $4.5 Million dollars that year, a salary that is 135 times the salary of the average worker at Palisades Medical Center, while John Lloyd reportedly earned $3.9 million.
“We continue to stand united against the corporate healthcare executives who continue to attempt to divide our union. Our voices should be listened to and respected,” said Sandra White, President of HPAE Local 5097 at The Harborage. “Which is why we are taking our campaign to the community, urging patients and families to stand with us as we demand Hackensack Meridian put patient health before corporate wealth.”
“For the corporate owners, they have made it known that they are streamlining services throughout the health system, yet they are failing to streamline these negotiations,” said Kendra McCann, president of HPAE Local 5058, representing 1,000 nurses at JSUMC. “Our nurses are continuing to provide care for our patients and we will do so while advocating for a contract that sets safe patient limits. No patient should have to worry about how many patients their nurse is caring for at one time.”
Over the last two months, nurses in Monmouth and Ocean counties have brought their concerns and their stories to HMH corporate executives to understand better the challenges healthcare workers face on the front lines. “As we have brought our patient care concerns to Hackensack Meridian at the negotiating table it has been concerning to the blank stares and lack of interest from management,” said Barbara Bosch President of Local 5138. “We tell the stories of our day to day experiences at the hospitals they run and own, we’d hope for a little more compassion and teamwork from a corporation involved in the health of New Jersey,” said Barbara Bosch, President of HPAE Local 5138.
“From a large corporation with windfall profits and high executive salaries, we demand to protect the rights we have established in our contracts. We cannot allow corporate executives to take a large swipe at our contracts which have set standards to protect patient safety and workers’ rights,” said Mickie Miquiabas, president of HPAE Local 5030 at PMC.