ATLANTIC COUNTY, N.J., July 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After months of negotiations, the registered nurses of Shore Medical Center in Somers Point took their fight for patient care and a fair contract to the community on Saturday with over 150 patients, allies and community leaders joining an informational picket outside of the hospital.
"This picket is to make the community aware of how committed we are to great patient care," said Nancy Burton, RN, Co-President of the Shore Nurses Union/NYSNA local bargaining unit. "The nurses are united, strong, and willing to fight for safe staffing, exceptional care and a fair contract."
Shore Medical Center is a full-service acute care community hospital serving Atlantic County and Cape May County in South Jersey.
The members of the Shore Nurses Union/NYSNA bargaining unit are frustrated by the negotiations that have dragged on for several months. In these sessions, the management of Shore Medical has attempted to dictate terms rather than negotiate over key patient care issues.
Management has presented proposals that threaten to destabilize the workforce at the hospital, as Shore Medical Center is currently facing a serious recruitment and retention issue, which–if not addressed–could lead to a severe nursing shortage. These proposals can weaken the hospitals ability to recruit nurses in what will be highly competitive environment. "Professional RNs are committed to their patients and community," said Gina Schlachter, RN, Grievance Co-Chairperson. "This is their career and nurses deserve to be treated with respect from management."
Among the outstanding issues:
- Outsourcing: Shore Medical Center has outsourced most departments to huge corporations, forcing long-term employees to re-apply for their jobs at drastically reduced wages and benefits.
- Unsafe Staffing: When understaffing occurs, patient care is compromised and unsafe. Further, it will result in the hospital's inability to recruit new registered nurses, retain experienced nurses and stabilize the workforce.
- Shutting out the Community: Shore has thus far refused to include the community in discussions about the current and future plans of the Medical Center. NYSNA believes the community that we care for should have a say in how health care is delivered at your hometown hospital.
- Corporate Greed: Shore Medical Center is a nonprofit hospital operating like a giant for-profit corporation, starting for-profit businesses such as Shore Physicians Group and Shore Quality Partners under the hospital's non-profit status. Nonprofit hospitals depend on billions of dollars in public subsidies from public health insurance program revenue, and exemptions from local, state and federal taxes. These exemptions were founded on the notion that hospitals would devote the money otherwise paid in taxes to improving the health of their communities. Because of their enormous government subsidies, nonprofit hospitals essentially function as public institutions. Hospital executives should be compensated accordingly. No one should become a millionaire working for charity at public expense.
With record profits and an expectation of increased revenue, Shore does not need to shortchange its dedicated, experienced RNs, and the public's health.
"Management proposals will affect this hospital's ability to recruit and retain a skilled nursing workforce, which will in turn have a direct impact on the type of care and safe environment RNs can provide to our patients," said Jill Furillo, RN, NYSNA Executive Director. "Taking away from the nurses ultimately takes away from patients, and that is something we just can't accept!"
The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 37,000 members in New York State. We are New York's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit our website at www.nysna.org.
SOURCE New York State Nurses Association