Maplewood Passes Resolution in Support of Striking RWJ Nurses


The nurses union has protested at the home of RWJ CEO Mark Manigan who lives in Maplewood.

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On October 3, the Maplewood Township Committee unanimously passed a resolution supporting 1,700 RWJ nurses who have been striking since August 4.

Maplewood resident Jacob Chafin lauded the township’s gesture during public comments, contending that throughout the strike “Robert Wood Johnson has spent millions and millions of dollars to replace striking nurses in order to break their union and has spread an awful misrepresentation of the nurses in the media.”

Chafin said that, more so than salary, “one of their key demands is safe staffing ratios.”

“If they are able to win safe staffing levels,” said Chafin, “This would reverberate into communities throughout New Jersey.”

Chafin also noted that the striking nurses lost their health care coverage on September 1.

“It’s just immoral,” said Mayor Dean Dafis later in the meeting.

One of many signs in RWJ CEO Mark Manigan’s Maplewood neighborhood.

Dafis noted that the resolution not only asked RWJ to negotiate in good faith with the nurses, but also called on New Jersey Gov. Murphy to “support the nurses in their reasonable demands — get involved.”

Dafis also said it was important for the township to take a stand since RWJ CEO Mark Manigan lives here.

In fact, the nurses held a protest in Maplewood on September 11, rallying in Memorial Park and marching through Maplewood Village to Manigan’s house. Nurses said they were happy to see that many of Manigan’s neighbors joined them in their rally. On a visit to the neighborhood on October 3, signs supporting the nurses continued to adorn multiple lawns on Manigan’s block.

According to Patch, RWJ contends that “it has met [nurses’] demands and the union turned down their proposals, returning with salary requests that were even higher than what they originally asked for, said a hospital spokesman.”

Maplewood Resolution Number 314-23

WHEREAS, over 1700 nurses from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) went on strike on August 4, 2023, after their negotiations for a new contract failed; and

WHEREAS, bargaining sessions by the parties since then have failed to secure adequate, safe, and enforceable staffing levels; and

WHEREAS, while the nurses on strike have lost access to their health benefits and wages, they remain focused on the establishment of safe and appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios; and

WHEREAS COVID-19 produced a labor shortage in nursing and other health professionals due to burnout and exhaustion, a shortage that remains; and

WHEREAS, maintaining safe nurse-to-patient ratios undeniably enhances patient outcomes and it’s crucial that our hospitals and other healthcare settings prioritize patient safety and adequate care; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Maplewood and the Maplewood Township Committee honor nurses everywhere, respect them, support their safety, and have heavily invested in community health & wellness.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Mayor Dean Dafis and the Maplewood Township Committee call on RWJUH leadership, RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO, Mark Manigan (who lives in Maplewood) and the union representing the nurses (USW 4-200) to continue bargaining in good faith toward the establishment of adequate, safe, and enforceable staffing levels in the best interest of patient care.

WE FURTHER call on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to support the nurses in their reasonable demand for safe staffing levels toward a resolution of this hiatus and the establishment of fair and safe working conditions for nurses and healthcare providers at RWJUH and at hospitals across NJ.

A copy of this Resolution shall be transmitted to the Office of the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, USW 4-200 union leadership, the President of RWJUH, and to RWJBarnbas Health President and CEO, Mark Manigan.

I, Elizabeth J. Fritzen, Township Clerk of the Township of Maplewood, in the County of Essex and State of New Jersey, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of a Resolution adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood, County of Essex, State of New Jersey, at a regular meeting of said Committee held on October 3, 2023.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of the Township of Maplewood in the County of Essex and State of New Jersey, on this 3rd day of October, 2023.

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