Hundreds of union members, union leaders, activists and elected officials rallied with New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and Secretary/Treasurer Laurel Brennan today as they marched alongside United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4-200 nurses on strike at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. The message was clear; bargain in good faith with the union and achieve a fair, equitable and respectable contract that includes safe staffing ratios for front line essential health care workers.
“The pandemic clearly illustrated the dedication and resilience of these workers who risked their health to battle COVID on the front lines of patient care” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “Now, with the pandemic behind us, we see even more clearly how understaffed hospitals are and how this is having a direct adverse impact on patient care and hospital staff” he concluded.
Several legislators also participated in the rally, including Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) and Senators Joseph Vitale (D-19), Patrick Diegnan (D-18) and Andrew Zwicker (D-16). New Brunswick Councilman and IBEW Local 456 Business Agent Kevin Egan also declared their support for the over 1,700 nurses who were recently praised as health care heroes, but now are struggling just to get a fair contract.
“Unfortunately, many hospitals are putting profit over people – and the quest for increasing profits in the health care industry is the number one reason why hospitals refuse to adequately staff their facilities” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer Laurel Brennan.
Union members from every sector of the labor movement traveled from around the state to show their solidarity with the nurses. They let their voices be heard, letting the RWJ administration know that New Jersey is a union state, and we will continue to show up, stand up and support our USW 4-200 brothers and sisters until a fair and decent contract is obtained.