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Impending worker strike possible at Johns Hopkins Hospital

<i>WBAL</i><br/>Employees at Johns Hopkins Hospital told 11 News that an impending strike is looming.
Employees at Johns Hopkins Hospital told 11 News that an impending strike is looming.

By Tommie Clark

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WBAL) — Employees at Johns Hopkins Hospital told 11 News that an impending strike is looming.

One employee told 11 News that they plan to strike Oct. 1. Non-union employees said they received an email Tuesday from the hospital stating that they may need to fill in on those shifts if a work stoppage happens.

Negotiations between Johns Hopkins Hospital and United Healthcare Workers East have been going on for months. The union represents about 1,800 of the hospital’s 11,000 employees. They range from essential support services to patient care positions, including environmental services, patient transport and surgical technicians, among others. The hospital confirms their current contract expires in 10 days.

Non-union employees are telling 11 News they received a message Tuesday from human resources that references those contract negotiations, saying if an agreement is not reached by Sept. 30, it appears staff may be pulled from other areas to cover.

It says the hospital’s plan is to have those employees fill in two to three shifts a week and staff will not be expected to exceed the hours in a typical workweek.

Some of the non-union employees who received the email are concerned. One, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “The fact that they are more willing to pull us away from our responsibilities to our patients instead of giving these workers the value they deserve disgusts me.”

Kim Hoppe, the vice president of communications for John Hopkins Medicine, responded, in part, saying: “As is standard in any late-stage contract negotiation process, the hospital is making staffing preparations to ensure that there is no disruption to the patient experience in the event of a strike. We remain focused on providing the best possible care for our patients as well as reaching a fair agreement for our employees.”

Those with the hospital said they’re hopeful it will reach an agreement before the contract expires on Sept. 30. The union said it is working on providing a statement.

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