Strike Countdown: More than 600 Bergen and Hudson County Nurses and Healthcare Workers Rally Before Strike Deadline: Key Issues are Safe Staffing and Retirement Security
PARAMUS...More than 600 Nurses and healthcare workers for Bergen and Hudson Counties danced and cheered last night at a rally before the strike deadline of June 2 set by their union, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees. The union launched a public education campaign three months ago on the key issues of safe staffing and retirement security with the theme "Our Fight is Your Fight," with billboards, bus signs and newspaper ads. Several state legislators attended and encouraged the nurses and healthcare workers to persevere in their fight for safe patient care and retirement security. Senator Joseph Coniglio, Senator Paul Sarlo, Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg, Assemblyman Bob Gordon, Assemblywoman Joan Voss, Bergen County Freeholder Vice Chair James Carroll were among those in attendance. United States Senator Frank Lautenberg was unable to attend, but was represented by Labor Liaison John Fuller.
According to Ann Twomey, President of HPAE, a 10,000 member healthcare union, "the numbers of registered nurses and other caregivers available for your care during a hospital or nursing home stay is probably one of the most important factors in determining whether and how quickly you get well, and whether you and your family members know how to tend to your illness upon returning home. Since the 1990s, hospitals and nursing homes have been cutting staff to cut costs, and the result has been to drive those remaining nurses, technicians, and other caregivers from the bedside, creating serious staffing shortages. Studies have demonstrated what caregivers have long reported: understaffing threatens patient safety and undermines the quality of care."
3500 nurses and healthcare professionals from six hospitals,, Bergen Regional Medical Center, Pascack Valley Hospital, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Bayonne Medical Center, Palisades Medical Center and Christ Hospital, have all voted to authorize a strike starting on June 2, if the key issues are not resolved.