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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The 2015-2017 contract between NJNU and SBMC has been ratified by a majority vote. Wage increases will be retroactive to November 2, 2015.
Your team worked very hard for this agreement please thank them when you see them.
Its very important to keep informed and involved. We will attach the Memorandum of Agreement to emails and it has been uploaded to our website under members only, then contracts. You may also contact the office for a copy and we will be sending it to print asap.
Also we have not received the arbitrator's decision regarding the flu arbitration as yet, as soon as we receive it we will inform you.
Friday, Nov.6, 2015
8:00 AM – 11:00AM
3:00PM – 6:00PM
Make note of new meeting place!!!
Trinity Covenant Church
343 East Cedar Street
(Make left out of hospital, keep to left on Old Shorts Hills Rd., cross straight over Northfield Ave., and directly after Exxon station make a right into church entrance keep sharp right into parking lot. Meeting will be in fellowship hall at furthest building)
ADDITIONAL EVENING MEETING THAT DATE WILL BE AT THE HOSPITAL
8:00 PM – 10:00PM
2. Q & A
3. CONTRACT RATIFICATION VOTE
ATTENDANCE AT THESE MEETINGS IS MANDATORY
2015 NJNU NEGOTIATING TEAM
Your negotiating team has met for 2 more sessions last week with no progress on the GI/ENDO on-call issue and the sick time/OT issue, (2 givebacks). Staffing and acuity language, we have made NO progress with getting that language in the contract, the hospital feels they do a good job, "not always perfect", but a good job of staffing the hospital and that there is no need for acuity/staffing language in the contract, this issue continues to be a very difficult issue for a resolution. We have made progress in areas of self scheduling for the 3rd floor with patterns hopefully intact, transition of care nurse program, possibly uniting ORHA with SDS/GI/ENDO divisions since the hospital projects the ORHA to close.
Your team created an impressive clinical ladder program proposal and the parties are still discussing this. Our contract expires at the end of this week, we are hoping to open discussions on the economics this week.
Your team continues to negotiate and we will continue to keep you informed. There are contact people on every unit that you can go to also.
If you know members who are not receiving emails, send us their information. We will be having meetings also. This is a very important time to become involved and to stay informed, this is your union, your contract! It will be our unity and strength that will get us a good contract. You are the union!
2015 Negotiating Team