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Johns Hopkins Hospital Reaches Settlement With Registered Nurses Affirming Nurses' Guaranteed Right To Unionize

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Johns Hopkins Hospital has reached a settlement that reaffirms nurses' guaranteed legal rights to unionize, the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United said Wednesday.

"This settlement makes clear that nurses have the right to form a union, we have a right to speak with our coworkers about a union, and Johns Hopkins does not have the legal right to target and intimidate nurses who engage in union activity," said Alex Laslett, RN. "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."

The settlement resolves "unfair labor practice charges" filed with the Baltimore-based National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the Johns Hopkins nurses by NNOC/NNU.

The NLRB found merit to charges the hospital broke the law by:

  • The creation of the impression of surveillance and unlawful interrogation in regards to protected union activity,
  • Promulgating and/or enforcing a rule barring off-duty RNs access to break rooms, outside patient care areas, in connection with union activity.
  • Prohibiting Hopkins RNs from talking about the union at work, while permitting other non-work conversations.

According to the release, the settlement requires that Johns Hopkins Hospital management post signs throughout its facilities affirming the nurses' rights to form a union.

The signs will declare that Johns Hopkins Hospital will not prohibit nurses from talking about the union, will not create the impression that hospital management is watching out for union activities, will not ask nurses about their union sympathies, and will not discriminatorily enforce its policies on nurses accessing break rooms.

The NLRB has instructed Johns Hopkins Hospital to have the signs in place by June 14.

"In Catholic social teaching, we teach and believe that all workers have a fundamental human right to organize and to form unions and when an employer such as Johns Hopkins violates this fundamental right, they are acting unjustly and must be held accountable," said Father Ty Hullinger, a pastor in East Baltimore and a member of the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins. "This settlement puts Johns Hopkins on notice that the community is watching their actions and holding them to a standard that is moral and just."

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