New deal locks in raises of up to 11% for Hackensack Meridian hospital nurses

A new contract for nurses at Neptune City, N.J.-based Jersey Shore University Medical Center comes with higher wages and improved safety measures for the employees, the Asbury Park Press reported Oct. 24. 

The contract, which covers 1,400 nurses at the hospital, could increase some nurses' pay between 8 percent and 11 percent, according to the newspaper. It is designed to retain experienced talent to mentor newcomers — and to address employees' safety concerns, said Debbie White, RN, president of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees Union. 

The 691-bed hospital, owned by Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health, has had terse relations with the union, according to the newspaper. Nurses have encountered "frustrated, unruly" patients in the emergency department, the newspaper reported. 

Along with pay increases, the new contract increases minimum staffing levels in the operating room and emergency department and assigns a full-time security officer to the ED. It also "sets the stage" for more conversations between employees and management regarding safety improvements, according to the newspaper.

"We're hopeful the relationship will improve," Ms. White said. "That's what both sides committed verbally to do: to establish a better relationship."

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