Johns Hopkins Hospital, nurses reach settlement over unionization rights

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Hospital and its registered nurses have resolved allegations related to unionization efforts, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The nurses began unionizing efforts last year due to what they deemed "inadequate conditions and other standards" at the facility "compared to other nationally recognized university hospitals."

During the push to organize, the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United union filed various complaints with the National Labor Relations board. The union alleged Johns Hopkins retaliated against two nurses involved in unionization efforts and banned nurses from discussing union issues at work or visiting the hospital on their days off to talk to colleagues who were on their breaks about organizing.

The recent settlement resolves these allegations, according to The Baltimore Sun.

"This settlement makes clear that nurses have the right to form a union, we have a right to speak with our co-workers about a union, and Johns Hopkins does not have the legal right to target and intimidate nurses who engage in union activity," Alex Laslett, a nurse, said in a statement. "We are organizing at Johns Hopkins because we know a union affords nurses the protection we need to advocate freely for the best care for our patients."

According to union representatives, the settlement requires Johns Hopkins to post signs in the facility affirming nurses' unionization rights and declaring that the hospital won't ban the nurses from talking about the union or indicate that it is looking out for union-related activities. The representatives said the signs also say the hospital won't "discriminatorily enforce its policies on nurses accessing break rooms."

Johns Hopkins Hospital spokesperson Kim Hoppe said in a statement to Becker's that the hospital is pleased about the settlement and that the labor relations board did not determine the hospital did something illegal. 

The language in the notice to employees included in the settlement "affirm[s] the hospital's longstanding commitment to protect nurses' rights under federal labor law," said Ms. Hoppe.

She added that the statements in the notice "do not suggest or imply that the hospital has acted improperly, and the settlement agreement specifically states that there is no admission of liability. The settlement also does not affect the hospital's right to maintain its established policies regarding access to unit break rooms."

 

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