Registered nurses at Medstar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) in the District of Columbia announced today that they plan a one-day strike on December 22. “If nurses are on the outside, it tells you there must be something wrong on the inside,” said Gandessa Ortega, RN. “What’s wrong inside Washington Hospital Center is that hospital management routinely and dangerously understaffs nurses, putting patients at risk.”
photo: November 12 strike at Providence Hospital; photo by Chris Garlock
Hospital executives on November 26 implemented their ‘last, best and final’ offer and declared an impasse but National Nurses United, which represents the RNs, called the move “illegal” and says there is no impasse. "We have raised serious concerns about safe staffing and clinical practices but we have received no serious response from hospital executives. Patients’ lives are at stake,” said Washington Hospital Center RN Mindy Blandon. “Nurses are forced to take this action in order for hospital managers to negotiate in good faith about issues of health, safety, and equity.”
Nurses voted in late November to reject the hospital’s final offer at the bargaining table and to authorize a strike. The strike is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on December 22 and will continue until 7 a.m. on December 23. Medstar Washington Hospital Center management received 10 days advance notice from NNU to postpone elective surgeries, transfer out any patients as needed, and make other preparations needed.
National Nurses United is the nation’s largest direct-care registered nurses union, representing 190,000 members, including 4,400 RNs in the District of Columbia. NNOC/NNU represents RNs at facilities that include Providence Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, Children’s Hospital, United Medical Center, Howard University Hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs.