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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Wash. Hospital nurses back 1 day strike

By Lena H. Sun

The union representing about 1,600 nurses at Washington Hospital Center has voted to hold a one-day strike in early March to protest the lack of progress in talks with management about staffing and wage cuts, a spokesman for the National Nurses United union said Wednesday.

Ken Zinn said no date has been set for the one-day strike.

This is the second time the union has voted to strike. In November, the union voted to hold a one-day stirke the day before Thanksgiving but canceled it after the two sides agreed to resume bargaining for 90 days.

"We haven't made significant progress and the nurses are angry and frustrated," Zinn said. He declined to state the number of nurses who voted to strike, but said "just under 90 percent" of them backed the decision.

The hospital's chief medical officer Janis Orlowski said Monday that the two sides had reached agreement on more than three dozen items, but had not made progress on the amount of extra pay nurses should receive for working evenings, nights and weekends.

By Lena H. Sun  | February 16, 2011; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Comments

Good for them, the nurses have my support!

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 16, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I am an RN and have worked at the Washington Hospital Center for almost 34 years. I participated in the first work stoppage in 1978 and every one since in fighting for nurses' rights and for providing for safe patient care. Our patients are the sickest of the sickest and we are the best of the best. We deserve what we have fought for through the years and to have nothing taken away from us. I am looking forward to retirement but at that time I will have worked for the Washington Hospital Center for 40 years and will be without health insurance. This health care facility deems it unnecessary to provide health insurance or even the ability to purchase group insurance through the hospital for the very nurses who have given years of service to the community. I hope the younger nurses who reap the rewards of years of hard-fought contract negotiations stand with those of us who participated in said negotiations; working for the betterment of nurses and patients not only at the Washington Hospital Center but having the trickle-down effect at every hospital in the D. C. area. We must have good faith negotiations from management NOW to resolve this stalemate.

Posted by: barthy | February 16, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I work for this hospital. Nurses love working at this hospital. Over the past few years MedStar has cut corners that make it very difficult to do safe care at this hospital. This facility is a "destination hospital" and takes care of the sickest patients in the region. We are very hard working RNs. Our hospital is taking cost cutting measures and gives too many patients per RN. This places our patients at risk. If we are too busy we risk not noticing a patient in need of rescue or resuscitation before it is a crisis. We care and try to do the proper care that patients and their families deserve from a hospital. But when each RN is caring for too many patients, we are spread too thin to do a proper job.

I don't really want to strike, but our employer is abusing RNs right now. We are being given too many patients to do the proper job and that is endangering the very patients we are trying to help. Not to mention the risk of losing our licenses.

It is like being domestically abused, the abuse doesn't stop until you leave the abusive situation. So maybe our hospital will have a little more respect for the RNs and the patients. Maybe a strike will make them stop abusing RNs and placing the patients at risk of bad outcomes from the hospital that we love dearly.

Posted by: dinkelp | February 17, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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