Mobilizing for Safer Care in New Jersey
The New Jersey Nurses Union (NJNU), was created by working nurses at Saint Barnabas Medical Center who desired strong representation in all areas of professional concern. Since its inception in 1991, NJNU has proven effective in negotiating their contracts as well as making certain the terms and conditions are upheld. Read More
Maria Refinski, NJNU President
New Jersey Nurses News
On March 11, 2016, nine Radiology Nurses were certified by the National Labor Relations Board to be part of our New Jersey Nurses Union, after they unanimously voted to be part of our bargaining unit. We welcome them! Although they will become a formal part of our contract negotiations for the next round of negotiations, right now we have to negotiate an initial agreement for them.
While most terms of our agreement will apply to them, we have been negotiating primarily economic issues to bring them up to par with the RN contract. We have been in negotiations with the Hospital for several weeks, with no agreement on key economic issues. Since these nurses are now part of our Union, our view is that they should be entitled to similar benefits as the current contract with the Hospital.
The Hospital wants on-call remain at $35, (the same as the technicians get). Our RN contract’s current rate for on-call is $50. The Hospital does not like the $50 on call pay and is seeking to deny it to these RNs. We suspect that in the next full negotiations, the Hospital will again seek to reduce the on-call pay for the RNs.
Overtime after 40 hours.
The hospital wants the overtime to continue to begin for the Radiology Nurses at 40 hours per week, instead of the 37.5 hours that the rest of the RNs get. The Hospital again treats the Radiology Nurses as technicians, not at RNs. Since only a handful of the nurses in this new unit actually work overtime, the impact of a 37.5 trigger for overtime is very limited. The real reason is that the Hospital is just trying to make a point of saying they will keep the radiology nurses under technicians’ benefits and not treat them as RNs. All RNs must stand together on these issues or they will be coming after us next for lower on-call pay or overtime after 40.
NJNU has filed a 30-day Strike Notice, and sought Mediation
We have also requested a federal mediator to intercede so that we may reach an agreement within the next 30 days. We will need support from all of the nurses in NJNU to support our new group of RNs. Remember, the position the Hospital takes today might very well be the same it takes with all of us next time. We will continue to negotiate for on-call pay and overtime after 37.5 hours.
NJNU MEMBERSHIP MEETING
CONTRACTS AND GIFT DISTRIBUTION!!!
Trinity Covenant Church
343 East Cedar Street
3:30pm- 9:30pm (NOTE TIME CHANGE!)
1. Contract Q&A
2. Open forum
PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO COME
New Jersey Nurses Union
The New Jersey Nurses Union celebrates National Nurses Week,
in honor of the many men and women that have dedicated themselves to the nursing profession over the years. Nurses work relentlessly everyday to improve healthcare while facing increased challenges to their professional and ethical commitment
to deliver quality level patient care.
The New Jersey Nurses Union is proud to recognize Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses everywhere on May 6, 2016
for the quality work they provide seven days a week,
365 days a year.
A Special Thank You to the Nurses
Saint Barnabas Medical Center
Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center
from the Officers, Delegates, and Staff of
NJNU it is our honor to represent you.
ATTENTION – IMPORTANT NEWS
Negotiations between New Jersey Nurses Union and MMCSC/BHBHC, effective April 3, 2016. NJNU is pleased to inform you that the Union has been meeting with management to negotiate an adjustment in your wages, educational differential, certification increase at BHBHC, and a new certification differential at MMCSC. The adjustments in your base salary range from approximately $1.50 to $5.50 hourly effective April 3, 2016. Per diems will also receive an increase from $38.00/hour to $40.00/hour. On July 1st, you will go up a step on top of the higher wage rate. The educational differential for BSN and MSN will be increased by $.50/hour. In addition the certification differential for BHBHC will increase from $.15 to $2.00/hour. Right now MMCSC does not have a certification differential. As of April 3rd there will be a certification differential of $2.00/hour.
Some of you are off the wage scale and will be receiving an increase of varying amounts. If your wage increase is less than $1,000.00/year, you will receive a bonus to bring you up to $1,000.00.
If you have any questions about your individual wages, you should call or email NJNU, to find out what your increase will be.
Unfortunately, we have been informed that the Senate Health Committee will NOT be voting on S1183, our Safe Staffing bill on Monday Dec 21st. Thank you for all of your hard work and commitment but instead of going to Trenton next week, we will refocus our energy on moving Safe Staffing into the next Legislative Session after January 20th.
NJNU wishes everyone safe and happy holidays.
Assembly Health Committees Hears Legislation for Safe Nurse Staffing Levels
Trenton, NJ Nurses and patient advocates testified before the NJ Assembly Health Committee today to share their concerns for patient safety in NJ hospitals, and to ask for passage of A647, legislation (Moriarty/Benson/Eustace/Sumter/Jimenez/Jones) requiring hospitals and ambulatory care centers to establish safe nurse to patient staffing levels. The bill was passed out of Committee by a vote of 8-4 and will now move to the Assembly floor for a full vote.
Nurses testified that they often work understaffed, without clear and current standards to ensure patient safety and the safety of nurses and staff, pointing to outdated NJ Department of Health (DOH) regulations governing hospital licensure and nurse staffing.
“NJ laws and regulations governing patient safety have failed to keep pace with changing technology, nurse practice and the healthcare needs of our patients. In fact, regulations governing nurse staffing in hospitals have been unchanged since 1987, and are minimally enforced. This failure impacts the safety of our patients, and the safety of nurses who are caring for more patients than is appropriate or safe,” said Ann Twomey, President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), representing 12,000 nurses and healthcare workers.
The nursing and patient advocate groups, part of a NJ ‘Coalition for Patient Rights and Safe Staffing’ called for passage of the nurse staffing bill, with minimum staffing numbers consistent with current nursing practice, measurable and enforceable systems to increase staffing levels based on changes in patient census and ‘acuity’ and oversight by the NJ Department of Health.
“The purpose of this bill will only succeed if there is oversight to ensure compliance. Patients and their families need the security of safe nurse staffing regulations, but nurses need the State Department of Health to enforce the rules and take timely action. Without regular, proactive hospital inspections, adequate resources, and prioritization at the state level to ensure compliance, these facilities will fail patients when staffing cuts undermine quality care,” said Adam Liebtag, President of the Communications Workers of America Local 1036, representing state inspectors and investigators working in the DOH responsible for conducting hospital inspections.
Coalition members described a decade of studies have shown a link between nurse staffing and patient outcomes, including complications, infections and readmission rates; nursing retention and injury rates; and costs due to understaffing and federal reimbursement penalties.
“Research and experience have demonstrated that safe nurse staffing ratios lead to better patient outcomes, better nurse retention, and a cost savings for hospitals. Every person in the state of New Jersey should be able to walk into a hospital and expect the same standard of care regardless of where they live or what hospital they visit. New Jersey’s patients should expect nothing less,” said Elfrieda Johnson, RN, President of JNESO District Council 1, representing 5,000 nurses and healthcare workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
“The FAA has set ratios for flight attendants to passengers – and not because you get your beverage promptly, but because of your safety,” said Bernie Gerard, RN, Vice-President of HPAE. “When nurses work understaffed, not only do our patients receive compromised care, but our own safety can be jeopardized. That’s why we need standards and safe ratios – for the safety of our patients and our workplaces,” added Gerard.
“Registered Nurses focus everyday on providing safe and effective care for our patients. Without appropriate levels of nurse staffing, we fall short of our professional obligation and purpose, and we are losing nurses as a result. We know that having enough nurses by the bedside improves patient outcomes and their ability to care for themselves upon discharge,” said Maria Refinski RN President NJNU, CWA Local 1091, representing 1500 RNs.
The Coalition was supported by the NJAFLCIO, who pointed out that unionized nurses have the ability to speak out because their union status protects them from retaliation.
“The nurses advocating for patients and safety are doing so because they have protection from retaliation as unionized nurses. They are asking for standards on behalf of every patient in New Jersey, and every nurse and health care worker who cannot speak up. Their voices need to be listened to,” said Charles Wowkanech, President of the NJAFL-CIO, representing more than 600,000 union members.
NJ’s leading consumer organization also spoke in favor of safe staffing legislation. “As a patient and advocate for access to quality health care I know firsthand that we need strong, safe and enforceable standards for staffing and care that every patient can rely on having at his/her bedside. Every patient needs to know that their safety comes first,” said Dena Mottola, Associate Director of NJ Citizen and Representative of the NJ for Health Care Coalition, a collaboration of more than 60 groups, representing hundreds of thousands of NJ health care consumers.
Your support is needed to pass Safe Staffing Legislation to require nurse to patient ratios in NJ hospitals. The NJ Assembly has announced they will be voting on A647 in the Assembly Health Committee on Thursday, December 10th at 10am. To ensure the bill moves out of Committee there are two ways you can help.
1. Send a message to the Assembly Health Committee: Visit the Coalition for Patient Rights and Safe Staffing website to send a letter urging them to vote Yes in support of A647. Click here www.patientsafetycoalition.com to send a letter in your name to the committee members.
2. Join us in Trenton on Thursday, 12/10: Wear your Blue scrubs (NJNU) and wear your Red Shirts (HPAE) you must have picture ID. join us on Thursday, December, 10th. We will be meeting in the Statehouse Café at 9:00 am. Contact our friends at HPAE, Adam Clark at email@example.com to register for the day.
As front line caregivers and health professionals you know that safe staffing is crucial to the health and well being of our patients and our ability to provide quality, professional care. Your voice needs to be heard in Trenton.
Remember send a letter www.patientsafetycoalition.com to the members of the Assembly Health Committee to vote yes on A647. Then join us in Trenton in the Statehouse on Thursday, December 10th.
Take action today!
Bernie Gerard, VP HPAE
Maria Refinski RN BSN
See you at the statehouse!
Dear NJNU Members,
NJNU provided compelling evidence and witness statements for the flu vaccine arbitration, unfortunately the arbitrator's award was not in favor of NJNU. Therefore the flu vaccine is mandatory and the deadline is December 1, 2015. If you should have "an adverse reaction to the flu shot it should not be charged to sick time", this is the language in the arbitrator's award, however it has to be grieved, so it is important to notify NJNU if this should happen so we can grieve it.
If you have a medical exemption you will be required to wear a mask; if you cannot wear a mask you need to get a note from your doctor to state that and why, please send that to NJNU immediately so we may take further actions on your behalf.