DC hospital nurses launch unionizing effort

Nurses at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., are looking to organize a union represented by the District of Columbia Nurses Association.  

The nurses announced the effort in a Feb. 10 statement, citing "a desire to provide the safest, most compassionate and most patient-centered care possible."

"Unfortunately, repeated attempts to work personally and directly with hospital leadership have failed to yield lasting systemic improvements," the statement reads. 

Nurses who support the effort view organizing as the best path forward, and as a way to increase nurse retention, ensure adequate staffing and improve training programs.

Nurses would still have to vote on whether to unionize. DCNA Executive Director Edward Smith told DCist the new union, if formed, would represent about 750 registered nurses at the hospital, which is owned by King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services. 

George Washington University Hospital recognized workers' right to support or oppose unionization while expressing support for remaining union-free. 

"Keeping the direct relationship between our nurses and the hospital and all the flexibility and individual empowerment that it provides is the key to both our nurses' ability to thrive in their professional practice and our continuing successful partnership with them in providing the best possible care to our patients and our community," the hospital said in a statement shared with Becker's.

"Such a significant decision should be an informed choice based on the facts about unionization. We welcome this opportunity to share information and engage in substantive discussions with our nurses on this issue."

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