Johns Hopkins Hospital was ringed by more than a hundred employees this morning who are staging a three-day strike after a union representing food, service and maintenance workers failed to reach a wage agreement with the hospital.
“The mood is jubilant and not at all rowdy,” Jim McNeill, a spokesman for 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said. Picket lines have been formed at the hospital’s main entrance at 1800 Orleans Street and on surrounding streets.
More than 1,300 members have signed up for picket duties during the three-day strike, which will end at 6 p.m. Friday, McNeill said.
“We gave Hopkins a 10-day notice, so there would be no disruption in patient care,” McNeill said. “But people will notice that the hospital will not be as clean and as smooth running over the next few days with temp employees.”
Union Rejects Wage Offer
The strike came after the union late yesterday rejected a wage offer by hospital management that it said amounted to annual raises that averaged less than 2%.
A Hopkins spokesperson, speaking to The Brew last week, said the hospital had been negotiating in good faith was seeking to reach a settlement that is “fair to everyone and reflects financial responsibility on the part of the hospital.”
She noted that 1199SEIU represents a small number of the 20,000 people employed at the hospital, and management was making “contingency plans” for maintaining all patient and medical services in case of a strike. She declined to discuss specifics of the negotiations saying Hopkins does not negotiate “through the media.”
1199SEIU seeks to establish a $15-an-hour minimum wage for workers with at least 15 years experience over four years. Late yesterday, hospital management made offered a minimum wage of $12.25 an hour, which would take effect in 2018.
Currently, many Hopkins workers rely on food stamps and Medicaid to supplement their “poverty pay at the nation’s No. 1 rated hospital,” according to McNeill.