Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 18, 2024

Nurses at Hopkins planning to unionize

By KATY WILNER | March 29, 2018

A group of nurses at the Hopkins Hospital are working with National Nurses United (NNU) to form a union. NNU, which was founded in 2009, is the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S. 

NNU was created by combining the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses and Massachusetts Nurses Association.

According to the NNU’s website, one of the organization’s goals is to achieve “healthcare justice, accessible, quality healthcare for all, as a human right.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, some nurses believe that they are being underpaid, that the Hospital is severely understaffed and that they are not afforded the benefits they need. 

In addition, others have raised concerns that the Hospital has problems retaining nurses due to these issues.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for registered nurses is $32.91 and the median annual wage is $68,450. 

In Baltimore, the BLS reports that the median hourly wage for registered nurses is $35.31. 

The Baltimore Sun reports that some Hopkins nurses claim to make $33 an hour. 

In order to unionize, a majority of the 3,200 nurses employed at the Hospital will need to support these efforts by signing cards. 

The next step will then be to formalize the process through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), according to the Baltimore Sun

According to the NLRB website, workers can form unions through multiple pathways. 

If a minimum of 30 percent of workers sign cards or a petition in support of unionizing, the NLRB will hold a vote.

If the majority votes in favor of the union, the NLRB will “certify the union” as a representative in the collective bargaining process. 

Alternatively, the NLRB website states the employers can recognize unions themselves. 

Once union representatives are designated, employers are required to bargain with workers in order to reach an agreement.

A timeline for the unionizing process has not been established, according to the Baltimore Sun

In an email to The News-Letter, Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications Kim Hoppe wrote that the University is committed to its employees, including nurses. 

"At The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the nurses are critical to providing world-class care to our patients and their families, and we are committed to maintaining our longstanding culture of collaboration and open communication with them and with all of our employees. While there apparently has been limited contact by a California labor union with some of our nurses, our focus remains on our patients, employees and community,” she wrote. 

Update: This article has since been updated to include a statement from the University.

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