HPAE DENOUNCES FIRING OF JERSEY SHORE HOSPITAL NURSE/UNION LEADER
Union Files Charges Against Hackensack Meridian
New Jersey — HPAE President Debbie White issued the following statement today regarding the firing of HPAE Local President and registered nurse Adam Witt from Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Hospital management had prevented Witt from entering the hospital last week and fired him last night for defending a fellow nurse who was being disciplined by Hackensack Meridian:
“We are one month into a battle against the pandemic outbreak in New Jersey, the likes of which we have never seen and New Jersey is facing a potential healthcare worker shortage. Despite the great need for frontline caregivers, Hackensack Meridian Health is intimidating and silencing employees on the frontlines of this battle. Last night, I was informed of the termination of Adam Witt, a nurse at Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore University Medical Center and President of HPAE Local 5058, which represents 1,200 nurses at the hospital. Witt was fired for simply defending a fellow nurse being disciplined by Hackensack Meridian.
“This is no time for heavy handed tactics targeting nurses and healthcare workers who speak out to protect themselves and their colleagues. During these challenging times, we would expect employers instead to work collaboratively with labor to recruit and retain nurses and healthcare workers who are in high demand at this time. Unfortunately, Hackensack Meridian is more focused on silencing the voice of those battling this pandemic than working with them. As a union of 14,000 frontline caregivers, we will stand with our members who are advocates for the health and safety of both healthcare workers and patients.
“Today HPAE has filed a charge against Hackensack Meridian for unlawful discipline and termination of unionized healthcare workers and for retaliating against their workers who are not only providing care, but demanding to have the protective equipment they need to stay safe on the front lines.
“These are difficult times for all. Our union members will continue to stand together to defend the right of workers to demand the protections they need in the war against COVID-19. Hackensack Meridian Health should stand with healthcare professionals like Adam Witt, not intimidate and silence them.”
Copies of the complaints, which have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are attached.
The Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) is the largest union of Registered Nurses and health care professionals in New Jersey. With 14,000 members, we are also the fastest growing health care union in the state, as our membership has more than tripled in size since 1981.
HPAE members in our 23 locals include nurses, social workers, therapists, technicians, medical researchers and other healthcare professionals. We work in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, blood banks and university research facilities throughout New Jersey and the Philadelphia area.