New Jersey Nurses Vote for AFT Representation

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AFT Healthcare heart   After three months of delays by the national hospital chain that owns Memorial Hospital of Salem County (N.J.), nurses there finally won the right to form a union. The vote count was delayed by continued appeals by Community Health Systems, the hospital's corporate owner. CHS repeatedly lost its appeals before the National Labor Relations Board.

When the votes were counted on Dec. 14, the final tally was 73 to 48 in favor of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, an AFT affiliate that is New Jersey's largest union of nurses. The unit has 140 registered nurses.

"The nurses spoke loud and clear for their right to speak up for their patients and their profession," says nurse Linda Serata. "It is past time that CHS and hospital management sat down to negotiate a fair contract that offers respect and fairness to the RNs working here, rather than continue expensive legal delays and objections to our rights."

Nurses filed to hold an election in May, but were initially blocked by CHS, which had claimed that a substantial number of the RNs were supervisors and therefore ineligible to vote. The NLRB ruled against CHS in August, and the election was held in September. [Health Professionals and Allied Employees, Dan Gursky]

December 15, 2010