“Not a win, not a loss.” That was one union leader’s assessment of last night’s DC City Council vote on the East End Hospital bill. Added another, “We’re healthcare unions but we’re also healthcare advocates and this bill doesn’t solidify quality union jobs or quality healthcare for the residents of Wards 7 and 8.” The Council passed a substitution amendment which bypasses the certificate of need process, and includes provisions requiring Howard University to reach an affiliation agreement with other institutions to allow HU doctors to continue to train med students. If there’s no agreement by June 30, there’s no deal with Universal Health Services (UHS), which will be building the new hospital. Also approved were amendments requiring UHS to hire union members for at least 50% of the nonsupervisory workforce at the new hospital in southeast DC and that UHS, SEIU and DCNA negotiate neutrality agreements for organizing campaigns at the new hospital.
Registered nurses with National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) applauded the decision by D.C. elected officials to file a lawsuit against Ascension, the owner and operator of Providence Hospital, charging that the multibillion-dollar St. Louis, Mo. based Catholic nonprofit violated the law when it began shutting down operations at the hospital on Friday, December 14. “This move by Ascension follows a long pattern of ignoring the needs and well-being of the people of Washington, D.C. and instead following a road map laid out by executives elsewhere in the country, who don’t care what happens to the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable who receive care at our D.C. hospital,” said Elissa Curry, a registered nurse at Providence. The lawsuit filed last Friday by the District of Columbia charges that Ascension violated D.C. law by closing and reducing hospital services without first obtaining approval of a hospital closure plan from the State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA.) Just days before the D.C. lawsuit was filed, nurses filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Ascension of bargaining in bad faith when it concealed its intention to close the hospital during negotiations in 2017. The nurses also charge that Ascension’s refusal to negotiate severance packages for the nurses who are losing their jobs at Providence Hospital is a retaliatory act against the nurses for their efforts to keep the hospital open.
photo: December 11 protest at Providence; photo by Chris Garlock
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Film: "Union Maids" (Shirlington)
Tue, December 18, 6pm – 8pm; Busboys and Poets (Shirlington), 4251 South Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA
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Sitdowns, scabs, goon squads, unemployment, hunger marches, red baiting and finally the energetic birth of the CIO: the 1930s were a landmark period for the American labor movement. Union Maids is the story of three women who lived that history and make it come alive today.
Film: "Union Maids" (Takoma)
Tue, December 18, 6pm – 8pm; Busboys and Poets, 235 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC 20012, USA (map)
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Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO 2019 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Conference
Wed, December 19, 9:30am – 2:30pm; IBEW LOCAL 24 - UNION HALL 2701 W. Patapsco Avenue Baltimore, Maryland 21230
DCA Rally for Airline Catering Workers
Wed, December 19, 4:30pm – 6:00pm; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 2400 S Smith Blvd, Arlington, VA 22202; Departures Level Terrace Area of Terminals B and C.
The controversy swirling around today’s vote on the East End Hospital was a major topic of discussion at last night’s meeting of the Metro Washington Council. The attempt by UHC and Vincent Gray to ram through a new, nonunion hospital that would freeze out Howard medical students outraged local union members gathered at what’s normally a festive end-of-year gathering (though Saul Schniderman did lead a spirited rendition of “Rudolph the Union Reindeer”). “We need to ensure good quality union jobs at the new hospital,” 1199 SEIU’s Yahnae Barner told delegates. “Your calls and emails will make the difference, just like it did at Providence,” added 1199 SEIU’s Djawa Hall. Click here for east-to-use contact info. Also key are full health care services at the new hospital, said DCNA’s Ed Smith, “equal to those in Northwest,” and access to Howard University doctors at the new hospital.
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