More than 1,000 New Jersey nurses went on strike Friday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, the most recent walkout amongst U.S. well being care staff pushing for higher pay and dealing circumstances.
The union representing the nurses, United Steelworkers Local 4-200, has been unable to achieve a deal on a brand new contract with the hospital. Their most up-to-date three-year settlement expired on the finish of June, and the union lately gave the hospital a 10-day warning forward of the strike.
Judy Danella, a nurse who serves because the union’s president, mentioned that members rejected an earlier tentative settlement, and that the hospital got here again this week with one other proposal that made little enchancment.
The roughly 1,700 nurses coated by the contract didn’t vote on the most recent supply, in response to Danella.
“They were like, ‘Why would we re-vote on something we already voted on?’” she mentioned. “The counter-offer is the same as it was” earlier than.
A spokesperson for the hospital couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Picketing was scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Friday. Video from New York’s ABC7 confirmed a throng of nurses in blue union shirts exterior the hospital cheering.
Danella mentioned sticking factors that stay in negotiations embrace annual pay raises, worker well being care prices and nurse-to-patient ratios within the vital care unit.
The union has requested that there be not more than two sufferers for every nurse in vital care besides underneath sure circumstances, just like a new rule drafted by New York’s well being division. Danella mentioned the hospital needs the power to droop the ratio when nurses name in sick, a requirement the union wouldn’t settle for.
She additionally mentioned the union and the hospital haven’t come to phrases on pay will increase or caps on annual well being care price will increase. Roughly 75% of members voted down a earlier tentative settlement that included 4% annual cost-of-living bumps, she mentioned.
Several strikes have hit U.S. well being care suppliers this yr. Nurses specifically say they’re overstretched and underpaid within the wake of the pandemic. With their companies in excessive demand, many are calling not just for pay will increase but in addition for lighter affected person masses. Nurses say staffing points have usually gotten worse.
The hospital has mentioned it plans to herald contract nurses to switch strikers through the work stoppage. Danella mentioned members noticed busloads of what gave the impression to be substitute nurses earlier this week.
“They started arriving on Monday,” she mentioned.