Press Release

Trumka Announces Support for Washington Hospital Center RNs

For Immediate Release
February 25, 2011

AFL-CIO President to Speak at NNU Strike Rally March 4
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will keynote a strike rally of registered nurses in front of Washington Hospital Center next Friday, March 4, National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses, announced today.
The hospital’s 1,650 registered nurses, members of NNU, will hold a one-day strike beginning at 7:00 a.m. on March 4 to protest management’s refusal to address their concerns on safe patient care, management’s attempt to erode nursing standards, and management’s unfair labor practices.
“These nurses are taking a stand for safe patient care and just working conditions, and the entire labor movement stands behind them,” said Trumka.  “I will be proud to walk with them on their picket line as they strike for working conditions that put patients first.”
“Working people across the DC area know how committed nurses at Washington Hospital Center are.  When they say there need to be improvements in patient care and nursing standards, we listen to them.  The executives at MedStar Health should too,” he said.
“We’re excited that our efforts to improve the quality of care for our patients and protect standards for our family are being recognized with support in the labor movement and throughout our community,” said Mary Heine, RN, a cardiac nurse at Washington Hospital Center.  “The issues we are raising about patient care affect a large number of people in this city who depend on us to take care of them and their loved ones when they are sick and we’re grateful that they’re rallying to our side.”
 Local unions around Washington, D.C. have begun mobilizing for the March 4 strike.  
“The 150,000 members of our nearly 200 affiliated unions in the metro Washington area are solidly behind the nurses in their struggle to make Washington Hospital Center not just a decent place to work but an excellent place to seek care,” said Joslyn Williams, President of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-C IO.  “So many of our members and their family members and friends have been the beneficiaries of the nurses’ dedicated and expert care over the years and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in this strike.”
Washington Hospital Center, the largest acute care hospital in the District of Columbia, is owned by the MedStar Health chain whose policies the nurses say have eroded patient care conditions and has prompted an exodus of hundreds of experienced RNs from Washington Hospital Center further undercutting care standards.