Nearly 2,000 nurses at Washington Hospital Center who staged a 24-hour strike yesterday to demand that MedStar address patient safety at the hospital now face a 10-day lockout by the hospital. The nurses – joined by local labor, community and religious allies -- picketed and rallied Monday in the freezing rain, saying they’re fed up with being ignored, and insisting that patients’ lives are at stake. The nurses plan to return to work this morning, even though the hospital has threatened to lock them out for 10 days, “essentially punishing union members for exercising their rights and advocating for their patients,” nurses said...
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
The WHC nurses – members of National Nurses United -- have been raising concerns about safe staffing and clinical practices but RN Mindy Blandon says “we have received no serious response from hospital executives.” They staged the 24-hour strike to try to force hospital managers to negotiate about issues of health, safety, and equity. “Poor staffing, substandard pay and unsafe working conditions have led to high turnover in bedside nurses and this attrition undermines the quality of care patients receive," said Gandessa Orteza, RN.
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