New Jersey hospital workers begin strike

Members of the JNESO District Council 1 IUOE-AFL-CIO labor union began a strike May 23 at Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, N.J.

The union represents 350 nurses and technologists at St. Michael's, according to a news release. The hospital, which is part of Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare, has about 1,200 total employees. 

Union members issued a strike notice to hospital management May 11. The union and hospital began negotiating March 28, and the most recent contract expired May 4, according to the release. In a statement shared with Becker's, the hospital said it is "negotiating in good faith with JNESO, and in the meantime, we remain open and fully operational."

The union contends that during negotiations, St. Michael's has refused to respond to issues such as safety, staffing levels, health insurance and pensions. "They have demanded more than 20 different 'give backs' from us without offering anything to benefit our members," Virginia Treacy, senior negotiator for JNESO, said in the release.

The strike began at 7 a.m. Eastern time May 23.

"Saint Michael's has arranged for qualified staff to ensure the hospital can continue providing high-quality, safe healthcare for our patients," the hospital's statement said. 

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