Friday, June 02, 2006


This morning nurses at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey had to walk past the entrance because they were not allowed in to work.

At 7:00 this morning Englewood officials locked out the nurses after not reaching a contractual agreement. A ten day cooling off period which the nurses accepted was rejected by hospital officials. The hospital says that it will use replacements to help the patients.

Hundreds of nurses bagan rallying outside Englewood Hospital and Medical Center after the morning shift was turned away at 7 a.m.

Carrying signs and banners, the nurses walked down Grand Avenue in Englewood. As they marched, motorists passing by honked in support.

They intended to meet with the chairman of the board, Andrew Durkin, but he wasn’t there. They left him a note with a list of demands regarding retirement benefits, working conditions and protecting nurses’ rights to unionize.

The 660 nurses at Englewood have negotiated the past several weeks for a new three-year contract to replace their two-year contract that expired at midnight Thursday.

Some of the outstanding isses as described by the nurses include:
1) Protection of our bargaining unit (Kentucky River) – the Future of Our Union:

Management has dug in their heels – they want to preserve their right to destroy our Union as soon as the law allows – they have made it clear that they are prepared to argue that all of us are “supervisors” – whether we are Care Managers, Charge Nurses or simply by participation in committees and councils.

** Three of the other hospitals have already agreed to protective language, most of the others are negotiating language –EHMC IS THE MOST OBSTINATE!

2) Continuing Education – While Edna Cadmus preaches aspirations of professional and educational excellence, she continues to refuse to negotiate guarantees of CE time – because it is a “cost factor.”

3) Less pay for more work time – they tried to paint the issue of eliminating our paid meal period as a quality of care issue – that we should give up a substantial amount of pay – to solve their problem, yet they have rejected everyone of our quality of care proposals as a “cost factor” (even though these would have minimal impact on the MC’s budget).

Other outstanding issues include:

· Wages (they moved from 1% to 2% -- still no increase for the most senior RNs)

· Professional Issues: chart review, peer review, councils

· Staffing

· Floating

· Pension

· Flexible Shifts

The following comes from WCBS in New York City.

Nurses Locked Out At Englewood Hospital
TRENTON: Englewood Hospital and Medical Center locked out its 660 unionized registered nurses after contract talks broke down Friday morning.

Replacement nurses were brought in while members of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, who reported to work at 7 a.m., gathered on the sidewalk.

New Jersey's biggest nurses' union -- at the urging of several politicians -- had offered Thursday to postpone a planned strike, but the hospital's president and chief executive officer, Douglas Duchak, rejected the 10-day cooling-off period proposed by the politicians.

In a statement, the hospital said it had implored the union to withdraw its strike notice before May 30 to give both sides time to negotiate without incurring financial obligations for replacement nurses. "Regrettably, the union rejected the medical center's request," the statement said.

Union spokeswoman Jeanne Otersen said talks broke off between 2:30 and 3 a.m. and no new sessions had been scheduled.

HPAE president Ann Twomey said the union decided to put off a strike "to protect patient care and to allow for negotiations under less-heated conditions."

"Our decision was based on the needs of our patients, while management's decision was driven by money," Twomey said in a statement. "Management told us they had already paid out $750,000 to a strike-breaking nursing agency."

Englewood was among nine New Jersey hospitals where nurses voted in mid-May to authorize strikes if contracts were not settled by June 1. Strikes have been averted at the others because they either reached a tentative agreement or extended the strike deadline due to progress in negotiations.

The breakdown came after state and federal elected officials, including Sen. Robert Menendez and the heads of the state Senate and Assembly health committees, distributed a letter saying they would offer their services to help the two sides avoid disrupting hospital services.

Key issues at all nine hospitals include retirement benefits, working conditions and protecting nurses' rights to unionize.

Tentative agreements, which must be ratified by union members, have been reached at Pascack Valley Hospital, Bayonne Medical Center, Virtua Memorial Hospital of Mount Holly, Christ Hospital in Jersey City, Cooper University Hospital in Camden and Southern Ocean County Hospital in Manahawkin. Negotiations were continuing at Palisades Medical Center and Meadowlands Hospital, the union said.

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