NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night in New Brunswick by striking nurses at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey.
The 1,700 nurses from USW Local 4-200, rocked the picket line, lighting candles on the fifth night of the strike.
"I love being a nurse. It's all I ever wanted to do," nurse Carol Tanzi said.
Tanzi has been a nurse for a quarter of a century and says it's impossible to care for the sick when the ratio of patients to nurses is too high
"The hospital has failed to recognize how important it is to have safe nurse-to-patient ratios," Tanzi said.
These nurses have been without a contract since June 30. The hospital has an offer on the table which they claim satisfies staffing and salary demands.
According to Robert Wood Johnson, the nurses are already the highest paid in the state.
However, the head of the union Judy Danella argues that the hospital has the highest paid executives.
After 28 years at the hospital, nurse Danella is ready to retire, but first, she wants to finish this fight for future generations that includes nurses like Marisa Ramos.
"In three and a half years of being a nurse, I've already experienced a pandemic and a strike," Ramos said. "It's really a shock. But we're out here for our patients."
The hospital is also assuring patients that medical care is not being compromised during this labor dispute.
"We remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering always-safe, highest quality care," Robert Wood Johnson Hospital said in a statement.
As nurses wrap up day five of the strike, both sides have agreed to meet with a mediator on Wednesday, except it's not binding, and the two sides remain very far apart.
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