|Dear AAUP-BHSNJ Faculty,|
We, the Executive Council of Rutgers AAUP-AFT and AAUP-BHSNJ, stand in solidarity with the Nurses of USW Local 4-200 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Nurses at RWJUH are fighting for safe staffing levels and fair compensation, among other critical demands. If these important goals are not reached through collective negotiations, the nurses will begin a strike on August 4, 2023. The full-time faculty, grad workers, post docs and EOF counselors at Rutgers University stand shoulder to shoulder with nurses if and when they go out on strike.
We were quite surprised to see the overtures to Rutgers faculty, residents, and medical students asking them to help break the strike. Interim CMO at RWJUH Andy Anderson wrote our clinical physician faculty on July 25th in reference to RWJUH hiring scabs, “We need each and every one of our medical staff members to lead and/or support our clinical teams by helping our new nurse colleagues to familiarize themselves with our processes and procedures.” Then this past Thursday, two Rutgers RWJMS Associate Deans emailed medical students asking them to serve as “support staff.” The email stated that students would be given an excused absence from their clinical duties for this. So they are asking students to substitute some of the limited time they have to learn on a rotation for acting as support staff. This is shocking and unacceptable.
We find this anti-union behavior abhorrent. We stand in solidarity with our RWJUH nurse colleagues. Medical students certainly should not be used to fill in gaps to provide medical services that are clearly beyond the scope of their education and practice and could leave them in a vulnerable position. They certainly should not be exploited in order to intervene in a labor dispute outside of Rutgers. We recognize that our clinical faculty must still continue to work. We know that various contingency plans may be set up to divert patients, reschedule cases etc. We, of course, want to do what is in the interest of the patient, but there is no duty to perform additional work or to otherwise assist strike breaking. If a strike does occur, our members should join a USW picket-line in their free time. Rutgers, a state institution, should not be using public resources to break a strike in a private health system.
The only way we change these health systems and those who run them is to make them listen to those who actually treat patients. As such, we need to stick together. A petition has been set up by the medical students to stop their exploitation in this manner.
Link to sign the petition in support of the letter (link to letter in the petition):
Direct link to the letter:
AAUP-BHSNJ (currently AAUP-AFT at Rutgers)
(914) 907-5895 (cell)
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