RWJBarnabas Health nurses accept contract proposal with new wage scale

Members of the New Jersey Nurses Union have accepted a contract proposal at two RWJBarnabas Health facilities.

The two-year agreement will cover nurses at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, N.J., and Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center in Toms River, N.J., according to a Sept. 7 union news release shared with Becker's.

The New Jersey Nurses Union, members of the Communications Workers of America Local 1091, said the agreement includes an across-the-board $1.50 per hour wage increase that took effect for nurses May 1, as well as a new wage scale. Nurses who are working night shifts will be eligible for an additional $6 per hour. Additionally, preceptor nurses will receive an additional hourly increase of $2.50.

"The increased wages and job protections we have secured, including guaranteed paid time off when required to quarantine due to workplace exposure and enhanced non-discrimination policies, will be significant to maintaining our talented nursing workforce and attracting more nurses to the RWJBarnabas Health system," Shannon Gomes, a registered nurse and president of NJNU-CWA 1091, said in the union release.

The union also said it has agreed to receive additional staffing help from nurses in RWJBarnabas Health's corporate float pool. This means nurses who are part of the float pool could be sent to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus to fill workforce gaps.

On Aug. 10, RWJBarnabas Health announced a significant comprehensive compensation enhancement program for registered nurses systemwide, the health system said in a statement shared with Becker's. On Aug. 29, after one meeting between both sides, the union signed another memorandum agreeing to the health system's previously announced comprehensive compensation enhancements which provided for significant pay raises.

RWJBarnabas Health said: "The negotiations were very cordial and recognized the efforts of our nurses over the past two years. RWJBarnabas Health looks forward to its continued good relationship with NJNU-CWA."

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