Striking RWJ nurses union, hospital reach tentative agreement
⚫ The agreement must be reviewed voted on by union members
⚫ Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and its nurses union have reached a tentative agreement that would end their 119-day strike.
About 1,700 nurses, members of United Steelworkers 4-200, walked off the job on Aug. 4 and were replaced by substitute nurses by the hospital. Their core issue was not pay but staffing levels and financial penalties for the hospital if they were not met.
Following a series of negotiation sessions with a mediator in October and November both sides went silent and did not comment on the proposals passed between union and management. Neither side would disclose the terms of the agreement.
"A memorandum of agreement was signed by both parties and will be presented over the next several days to union members through informational meetings as part of the ratification process, hospital spokeswoman Wendy Gottsegen said in a statement. "The resolution reflects our shared goals of providing the highest-quality patient care and creating a safe and supportive working environment for our nurses."
The union in a statement issued a statement that it was "proud" to announce an agreement that addresses their concerns about enforceble safe sytaffing standards, reasonable wage increases and "many other enhancements that will improve benefits for nurses greater than existed" at the start of the strike.
When do nurses return to work?
Gottsegen encouraged members to attend the meetings and vote.
"We've been trying to just kind of get down to business and create a contract that both sides could live with and that we would be able to enforce so that our members can have the staffing and the community can have the safety they need and they deserve," nurse Renee Bacany, a member of the union negotiation team, told New Jersey 101.5.
Bacany said the nurses will not return to work until the meetings are held to review the contract and members vote to ratify it. No schedule has been announced for the meetings and ratification vote.
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