Nurses strike continues outside RWJ University Hospital; union demands better offers

USW Local 4-200 says it has not received the guarantees it wanted regarding staffing ratios on floors and improvements with health benefits.

News 12 Staff

Aug 5, 2023, 2:14 PM

Updated 315 days ago

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Nurses were on the picket line outside Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick all throughout Saturday.
USW Local 4-200 said it has not received the guarantees it wanted regarding staffing ratios on floors and improvements with health benefits.
RWJ is spending millions of dollars to hire replacement nurses for the next 60 days.
RWJ responded with a statement which says, "RWJUH is already among the highest staffed hospitals in the state and our nurses are currently the highest paid in New Jersey, based on available public data."
Nurses who deal with patients day to day said it is quite the opposite.
"If there's a patient giving up their last breath, someone needs to hold their hand, be compassionate and tell them that it's OK to pass. Then how are you going to protect other patients who are trying to jump off their bed or someone who is crying out for pain or someone who is having chest pain?" said Intensive Care Unit Nurse Anna Rheena Boado.
RWJ said it has accepted the union's demands twice already and extended a new offer on Wednesday that would have further addressed staffing concerns but did not get a response from the union.
RWJ responded to the strike that brought out hundreds. The hospital said the strike could have been avoided if the union had not been so intent on this outcome. The hospital stated in part, "We are deeply disappointed that the union has decided to take this extreme action. It did not and should not have come to this."
The health organization said more than 800 replacement nurses were hired to care for patients during the strike.
Nurses on strike said there are guidelines in place that allow them to hire new staff, but the union is looking for a policy that can be enforced.
"You end up having three patients in the ICU. You could have six or seven patients on the floor. You could have 11, 12, 13 patients in the emergency room. That is completely unsafe," said Nancy Lipschutz, RN.
The nurses' union says this is not something they are taking lightly, and they plan to continue to stand up for themselves and their patients.


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