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The nurses strike at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital heads into day 65 as contract negotiations ended on Friday without a deal. The 1,700 nurses are seeking safe staffing ratios that would require at least one nurse for every five patients. Over the last year alone, nurses at the hospital filed 400 complaints for understaffed and unsafe shifts. “We still want safe staffing, and that’s exactly what we’re on strike for. We want a contract today. We want to settle this and be done. We want to take good care of our patients,” said Renee Bacany, United Steelworkers Local 4-200’s chief shop steward. “But we need to do that with safe staffing.” [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilippo]
Speaking of strikes … After years of advocacy and organizing — including 450 strikes in the last two years alone — fast food workers in California will see their minimum wage rise to $20 an hour next year thanks to new legislation signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. The law also creates a Fast Food Council that has the power to increase the minimum wage for the industry every year through 2029 so it keeps up with inflation. [AP News / Adam Beam]
Now for some exciting health care news: New Jersey’s Department of Health has approved thirteen new harm reduction centers, effectively doubling the number of sites in the state. Until this year, only seven harm reduction centers operated in the state; now, thanks to harm reduction expansion legislation signed into law in 2022, harm reduction centers operate in 12 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. “These approvals represent the continued progress our state is making in reducing the harmful effects of drugs on the lives of countless New Jerseyans,” said Governor Phil Murphy. [Office of the Governor]
On Tuesday, the Atlantic County commissioners refused to discuss or vote on a resolution urging lawmakers to rescind New Jersey’s sanctuary state. The resolution, which died after no one on the board seconded a motion to consider it, drew widespread and immediate pushback from immigrants’ rights advocates and residents across the county who packed the chamber to testify against it. “Stop playing games with our community; enough is enough,” said Cristian Moreno-Rodriguez, executive director of El Pueblo Unido of Atlantic City. “I hate that you wasted our afternoon for an anti-immigrant and xenophobic resolution.” [The Press of Atlantic City / Michelle Brunetti Post]
Earlier this week we announced our keynote speaker for Progress 2023: Analilia Mejia, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy! Analilia is seriously one of the best organizers and policy advocates out there, and we’re thrilled to have her join us on October 18 at Montclair State University. Register now for this free event by clicking the link, and keep an eye out for more updates on our panel of speakers in the coming week. [NJPP / Progress 2023]
TikToks of NJPP
This past week was both Week of Respect and Banned Book Week — which was fitting given that many of the books at risk of being banned are ones that highlight the experiences of people across different races, genders, and sexualities. Watch the video to learn more, and let our friends at the ACLU of New Jersey know if you’re seeing book bans happening in your community. [NJPP]
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