Hundreds of nurses officially go on strike at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Hundreds of nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital have gone on strike after three months of negotiations.
About 1,500 nurses lined the sidewalks outside of the hospital at 7 a.m. Friday. They have not gotten the guarantees they wanted when it comes to staffing ratios on floors and improvements with health benefits.
Renee Bacanay is with union leadership.
“The nurses that replaced us have three patients. When we are inside, we have anywhere from four to six depending on what type of patient load we are taking,” Bacanay says.
The hospital is spending millions of dollars to hire replacement nurses. They’re paying $17 million for one week of replacement staffing.
The strike has left patients and relatives of those being cared for inside to wonder if they can trust the temporary nurses.
Eileen Ashley’s grandson is 19 months old and underwent surgery on Friday.
“The first thing I said is if they’re out here who is in there? Which concerns me,” Ashley says. “Are they trained enough? Are they nurses? Are they just certified assistants?”
The hospital says it offered a fair contract that makes these nurses the highest paid in New Jersey. The hospital also says they offered arbitration, but the union rejected that offer.
A spokesperson released a statement saying, “We are deeply disappointed that the union has decided to take this extreme action. It did not and should not have come to this. This is not a strike of necessity and could have been avoided had the union not been so intent on this outcome. No one benefits from a strike, least of all, our nurses.”
News 12 New Jersey was told the two sides could meet to negotiate sometime Friday night or Saturday.