Tensions boil over at RWJ strike as nurses and security clash
👩⚕️ Three people have filed police reports after a physical incident at the RWJ strike
👨⚕️ A video appears to show a security guard forcefully shoving a striking nurse
👩⚕️ The hospital has filed for a temporary restraining order against the nurses union
NEW BRUNSWICK — Striking Robert Wood Johnson nurses have filed police reports for what they say was an assault on the picket line outside University Hospital.
The incident caught on video took place Thursday evening at the employee parking garage at RWJ University Hospital in New Brunswick, said Renee Bacany, who has been a nurse at the hospital for 17 years.
Nurses including members of United Steel Workers Local 4-200, the union representing the striking nurses, were walking the picket line with signs outside the garage.
Suddenly, a guard pushed one female nurse who was walking right behind him.
"You pushed me. You just walked into me," the security guard said in the video.
The guard has not been identified.
"We are legally allowed to walk back and forth at the crosswalk in front of the parking deck. Yes, it’s annoying for people trying to get in, but we need to get our message across. We’re on our 7th week of striking," the union said on its Facebook page.
More than 1,700 RWJ nurses represented by USW 4-200 have been on strike since early August. Union officials say that staffing levels are the driving factor.
Three people filed police reports in connection to the incident, union President Judy Danella said to New Jersey 101.5. New Jersey 101.5 has filed an OPRA request with New Brunswick to obtain a police report.
Meantime, the hospital network announced on Tuesday that it had filed an injunction against the union, Danella, and the other members.
“A temporary restraining order was entered against USW 4-200 to bar them from blocking entrances and exits to parking decks and other obstructive behaviors designed to disrupt care," RWJ spokesperson Wendy Gottsegen said in a statement.
"The issue is not about noise or restricting a peaceful demonstration, which we fully support. The judge issued the order in response to the increasingly aggressive activities that began last week. This order is needed to prevent injury or worse from the increasingly dangerous activities of the picketers."
Gottsegen did not respond to a request for comment seeking more information about Thursday's incident.