No deal reached as nurses union, RWJ Hospital resume negotiations
Talks have stalled between striking nurses and hospital administration at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
“We did not make progress toward a settlement today," said Judy Danella, resident of United Steelworkers Local 4-200, the union representing 1,700 nurses. "But we gave management a proposal that we believe addresses any reasonable concerns they have raised. The ball is now in their court. We remain fully committed to reaching an agreement with enforceable staffing standards. Further negotiations are set for Tuesday."
It has been more than two months since the nurses walked off the job. They are demanding increased staffing and fair pay.
“It’s frustrating because we are fighting to do the right thing. We want safe staffing for our patients. We want safe working conditions for us, and the hospital just doesn’t want to listen to it,” says nurse Louise Gurgui.
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Gurgui further explained that short staffing in the hospital's ICUS and Emergency rooms leaves some nurses dealing with up to nine patients alone.
“We’re not here for the money," Gurgui emphasized. "It's all about the staffing issue. That’s what's most important to us. We need to know that they are not going to be totally overwhelmed, where you are completely abandoning a group of patients because something else was dropped in your lap.”
Hospital administrators also commented about Friday’s negotiations.
“While we remain disappointed by the union’s continued advancement of untenable outlier positions, we look forward to returning to the negotiating table Tuesday, when the mediator has scheduled the next session,” said Wendy Gottsegen, spokesperson for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.