Johns Hopkins stifled unionizing efforts, federal labor board finds

The National Labor Relations Board has found evidence to substantiate a union's claim that Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Hospital tried to hinder organizing efforts, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The board's finding stems from a complaint filed by National Nurses United in June accusing the hospital of hindering nurses' legal right to discuss organizing with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, part of NNU. The union alleges the hospital prohibited nurses from discussing union issues at work and visiting the hospital on their days off to talk to colleagues who were on their breaks about organizing.

The board found the hospital's actions were illegal and said it would issue a formal complaint against Johns Hopkins if it doesn't settle the union's complaint.

Derek Jannarone, RN, a nurse in the hospital's transplant unit, said he was pleased with the board's decision.

He told The Baltimore Sun: "We hope that with this decision that the hospital will honor our federally protected right to try and organize."

A Johns Hopkins spokesperson Kenneth Willis told the publication the hospital disagrees with the NLRB's preliminary decision.

"We deeply respect our nurses, their contributions to our organization, and all of their rights as employees, including their right to support or oppose a union," he said. "We believe the union's charges lack merit, and we respectfully disagree with the National Labor Relations Board regional office's preliminary decision to move this matter to the next step in the process."

Johns Hopkins nurses said they began organizing efforts because of "inadequate conditions and other standards, compared to other nationally recognized university hospitals," which they argue have resulted in high turnover.

For a vote on unionization to occur, most of the hospital's 3,200 nurses must sign cards expressing their interest in such an election.

 

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