Re-post from NJBiz | Written by Beth Fitzgerald
Nurses and other health care workers at Christ Hospital in Jersey City and Bayonne Medical Center on Wednesday ratified new union contracts that include a 1.5 percent pay raise, increased employer matching contributions for workers’ retirement plans and increased staffing levels at both hospitals.
The new labor contracts represented by the 12,000 member Health Professionals and Allied Employees union cover 400 nurses at Christ Hospital and 850 nurses and health care professionals at Bayonne Medical Center.
HPAE said in a statement that employee health insurance contributions will not increase during the term of the contract, which expires June 30, 2015.
HPAE said improved nurse-to-patient ratios at both hospitals is a key component of the contracts. The agreement provides for more nurses for hospital units, including medical surgical, intensive care, emergency department, oncology and maternal child health.
“Our first priority throughout these negotiations was to set strong standards for patient safety and quality care — and we did that,” said Nicole Mankowski, president, HPAE local at Christ Hospital.
Retirement benefits were also improved, with an increase of the employer matching contribution to 2 percent for Christ Hospital, and an increase of 1 percent for Bayonne Medical Center.
“Improvements in staffing will help recruit staff and improvements of retirement benefits should help retain our valuable experienced staff,” said John Bauer, president, HPAE local at Bayonne Medical Center.
“HPAE members, elected officials and community leaders were instrumental in achieving strong staffing improvements in both of our contracts,” said Ann Twomey, president, HPAE union. “Our first priority throughout these negotiations was to set strong standards for patient safety and care in both the Bayonne and Jersey City communities.”
“CarePoint Health is very pleased that we have brought our negotiations with HPAE to resolution without any labor disruption affecting hospital patients, workers or the communities we serve,” said Jennifer Dobin, vice president of human resources at CarePoint Health, which owns the two hospitals.
She said CarePoint and the union reached terms in the early hours of July 31, following an extended bargaining session, and the issues resolved in the new contracts cover compensation, retirement benefits, health insurance contributions and hospital staffing.
“We want to thank the HPAE and all stakeholders that contributed to the dialogue and helped us reach satisfying results for all parties,” Dobin said. “In the end, we are all committed to maintaining our hospitals’ standards of excellence in patient care.”