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September/October 2012

Feature Story
A new beginning

Nurses, community band together to save a local hospital

THE INK ON a newly ratified contract was barely dry when the nurses of Christ Hospital in Jersey City, N.J., first heard about a proposal to sell their hospital. In May 2011, they learned that Prime Healthcare Services was in line to buy the hospital by the end of that year.

The news of the sale came as a complete surprise to Nicole Mankowski, a critical care nurse at the hospital and president of Health Professionals and Allied Employees Local 5186, which represents 400 registered nurses at Christ Hospital. "The possibility of a new owner was never mentioned in negotiations," she says.

It wasn't long before questions about the hospital's potential new owner began to surface. Prime Healthcare Services wasn't what it seemed to be. And upon further inspection, neither was the proposed sale. More questions arose. What kind of company is buying the hospital? Why the secrecy? What was the rush?

With so many questions arising about Prime Healthcare Services, HPAE set out to get some answers. The local began doing some research, says Mankowski. "We knew at some point we would have to negotiate with the company, and we wanted to be prepared."


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Healthwire covers news and information relevant to the nurses and health professionals represented by AFT Healthcare. It is published five times a year and is mailed to all healthcare members of the AFT as a benefit of membership. Single copies are free on request. Questions, comments and inquiries about Healthwire should be sent to its managing editor Adrienne Coles.  
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Convention report

AFT president Weingarten rallies delegates behind 'solution-driven unionism.'