Nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic agree to concessions

22 11 2009

Unionized employees at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic have tentatively agreed to a new contract that extends pay cuts and other concessions until the hospital begins to recover financially.

More than 500 nurses, technicians and other workers ratified a three-year contract, which goes into effect when the current contract expires on Feb. 28. The new pact continues court-assigned concessions until St. Mary’s reorganization plan is approved, at which time the nurses expect the hospital to begin restoring their pay in increments.

The employees have worked with a 5 percent pay cut — later reduced to a 4 percent cut by the hospital — and other concessions since March, when St. Mary’s declared bankruptcy, citing debts of $100 million.

Attorneys for the non-profit, 292-bed acute-care hospital filed a reorganization plan this month with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark and have until Jan. 6 for creditors to accept the plan.

The unions and St. Mary’s, who have been negotiating for months with an independent mediator, were pleased with the settlement.

“We had a mutually agreed upon mediator, who made compromise recommendations that turned out to be fairly reasonable,” said Virginia Tracy, executive director of JNESO, the union that represents 357 nurses and 131 technicians at St. Mary’s.

“It’s not ideal, but it gives them a chance to get back on their feet and us to get back what we lost,” Tracy said.

Another union, Operating Engineers Local 68, represents 20 licensed boiler room workers and other employees.

“Having the support of [the] unions, whose contracts were fully ratified this month, is an important step forward for the hospital,” Vanessa Warner, a spokeswoman for St. Mary’s, said in a statement Friday.

As part of the agreement, St. Mary’s will restore 2 percent of the workers’ wages when the court approves the reorganization plan; then 1 percent more in March, and another 1 percent in June, Tracy said. The hospital would also resume the employees’ annual “step” raise, an average 40 cents per hour increase, she said.

The hospital will not reinstate a paid half-hour lunch for employees, she said. But it will pay time-and-a-half to a 12-hour shift worker who is not relieved by another worker in order to eat, she said.

“The difference between now and when the hospital filed for bankruptcy is that we’re hopeful for the first time in a long time that progress can be made,” Tracy said.

The union was concerned that the hospital would reject its contract altogether if it didn’t agree to temporarily continue the concessions, Tracy said. “If they’re going to make it, they need cash and a few months to get a leg up to be successful,” she said.

“The employees are definitely going to cast their lot with management. The new administration has made some positive changes that we can see,” Tracy said. A new president and new chief financial officer took over St. Mary’s last summer.

A recent report by the court-appointed patient care ombudsman agreed.

“There are no issues at this time with regard to maintaining quality of care provided by St. Mary’s Hospital,” the ombudsman, Daniel T. McMurray, said in court documents.

A hearing on the sale of St. Mary’s former hospital site at 211 Pennington Ave. will be held on Dec. 8.

On Dec. 9, St. Mary’s will hold a public meeting to discuss hospital finances, future plans, services and community benefit programs. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the hospital, located at 350 Boulevard.

A hearing on the hospital’s Chapter 11 disclosure statement will be held Dec. 18.

The 114-year old St. Mary’s is the sole survivor of Passaic’s three hospitals.

E-mail: groves@northjersey.com





Breaking News:::: Major Gas Main Was Just Busted

22 10 2009

Passaic N.J. Major gas main was just busted by a construction company at the corner of Main Avenue and Highland Avenue. The gas leak is reported in the new school. Multiple agencies are responding at this time. Passaic Fire is requesting P.S.E & G on a rush. Main Avenue is being blocked off by the Passaic Police at this time expect major delays in the area. Homes are being evacuated in the area.

Update– 2:45 Passaic Fire evacuating all Highland Avenue residents in the area. Clifton Police requested to block off Main Avenue in Clifton.

Update–2:49 Passaic Fire loads the fire hoses as a precautionary measure. Additional Fire trucks arrive on scene to help with evacuations. Construction company is shutting down all of their generators in the area.

Update–2:50 P.S.E & G representative on location at this time, P.S.E & G rep awaiting the gas shut off team.

Update–2:55 Passaic Police reaching out to the Passaic County Sheriff Department for more officers to block off streets in the area.

Update–2:57 P.S.E & G Gas shut off team on location and attempting to shut off the gas main on Main Avenue and Highland.

Update–3:09 As per Passaic Police and Passaic Fire all units will be leaving the scene within 15 minutes. P.S.E & G shut off the gas at this time.

P.B.J.N Staff on behalf of the residents of the City Of Passaic would like to thank the Passaic Police department and the Passaic Fire department for keeping us safe and protected.

P.B.J.N Exclusive Report





Passaic mayor ousts a top official

20 10 2009

PASSAIC — Mayor Alex D. Blanco fired Jane Grubin, director of human services, late last week, in the biggest personnel move since he named a new business administration in June. And there may be more changes soon.

Sources with firsthand knowledge said Monday that the next employee on the chopping block is Planning Director Glenn Carter, who declined comment.

Grubin, who was appointed by former Mayor Sammy Rivera in 2001, was let go Friday. Business Administrator Anthony Iacono said Monday that there could be more restructuring. “Like all administrations, there are changes and that is our prerogative,” he said. “This is one of a few moves and other personnel moves are coming.” He declined to elaborate.

Attempts to reach Blanco were unsuccessful.

Iacono said that Grubin’s dismissal was not a political decision, even though Grubin’s husband, Simon Grubin, supported Blanco’s opponent, Vincent Capuana, in May’s mayoral election. Jane Grubin said she was proud of her work and both she and Iacono said her termination was unrelated to her performance.

“I serve at the pleasure of the mayor or at the whim of this mayor,” Grubin said. “It is their prerogative, that’s all. It wasn’t because I did a poor job. It had nothing to do with my job performance. I just hope they have someone from Passaic to fill that position and someone who cares about the people of Passaic.”

Grubin, who grew up in one of the city’s most prominent families, the Gurtmans, said her eight years in the job offered her a chance to give back to the community.

Her grandfather, Max Gurtman, owned a sheet company in Passaic, Max Gurtman and Son. He and the rest of the family contributed to local families and charities. Her father, Nathan, an architect, designed some of the city’s buildings, including the former Ginsburg’s Department Store on Madison and Lexington avenues, and the Ahavas Israel synagogue on Van Houten Avenue.

“Anything I can do is very important, because I have been blessed and this was the perfect way to give back to the community,” Grubin said. “These things are important. It wasn’t a job. I loved going to work every day.”

The Human Services Department is the fourth largest department in the city and oversees a wide range of programs that help city residents, from free HIV testing and food programs for children to running a health clinic.

Grubin, who made $77,000 this year, said one initiative of which she’s particularly proud was rehabilitating the city’s animal shelter, which was slated for closure by the state in 2003.

“I was able to get money to redo the shelter to become a state model for animal shelters,” she said.

Grubin thanked her staff, which numbers 55, for their work. She specifically cited those health professionals who developed a pandemic flu plan, after which the state modeled its program.

Grubin said she will remain active in the community, remaining as board chairwoman of the Mental Health Clinic of Passaicand continuing her work on the Jewish Family Service Board.

P.C.J.N would like to thank Jane Grubin for all she has done for our City and especially the Jewish community. We wish her all the best.

(News Source: NorthJersey.com/PCJN)





Learn today at P.T.I in passaic

8 10 2009




Pedestrian Struck This Afternoon

8 10 2009

hatzolahPassaic Park– A pedestrian crossing the street, was struck by an auto at 6:40 PM tonight. The pedestrian was at the the intersection of  Van Houten Ave and Waverly Place. Passaic police department, E.M.S, the Fire department, as well as Hatzolah EMS were all on scene. The patient was transported to the hospital by Passaic Fire EMS in stable condition.





Dozens Of Sukkahs collapsing!!!!!!!!!!!!

7 10 2009

Dozens of Sukkahs collapsing through out the tri state area please use extreme caution when going into the Sukkah. A warning for strong winds is in effect until Thursday morning.





Tree falls on house on reid avenue

7 10 2009

At approximately 12:40 this afternoon Passaic fire department as well as the Passaic police department responded to 36 reid avenue for a tree that fell into a house. No reports of injuries at this time.