The Atlantic County Local Chapter of JNESO was formed in 1978. Prior to joining JNESO, the nurses were represented by the Painter's and Allied Tradesmen. We were released by them to seek a union that would meet our professional needs.
JNESO won the petition to represent Atlantic County Nurses, who worked in Public Health Clinics and Home Health, Resident Services, the Jail and Harborfields.
The first contract was awarded by an arbitrator and consisted of three (3) mimeographed pages. The contract provided equity in wages, a grievance procedure, and job seniority.
We have built upon that contract to include steps for discipline, professional practice council, shift differential, hours of work, non-nursing functions, educational days, improved health benefits and finally longevity. The salary increased from an average annual starting salary of eight thousand three hundred twenty dollars ($8,320.00) in 1978, to a starting salary of thirty- six thousand twenty- five dollars and sixty cents ($36,025.60) by 1992.
Due to economic changes and contracting out of services by County government, we saw a decrease in our membership to half strength. In spite of this, our Local Chapter has continued to grow in strength and unity.
Through the educational offerings by JNESO, our Local Chapter continues to grow in strength and our members are more informed.
In summary, in addition to improving working conditions and professional status we have won the respect of County Management by educating them that we are a force to be reckoned with.
We are working toward the future and looking forward to the many challenges in the health care delivery system by protecting rights, protecting our profession, improving patient care and increasing local membership participation in our Local Professional Health Care Union.