Press Release

Washington Hospital Center RNs Gather After Calling One-Day Strike Over Patient Safety Concerns

Media Availability
February 23, 2011

TODAY, 5:00 p.m.

RNs Available for Media As March 4th Strike Approaches at Facility

Registered nurses at Washington D.C.’s largest hospital, Washington Hospital Center, will gather today, Feb. 23, to prepare for their announced one-day walkout coming on Friday, March 4.  Nurses will be preparing picket signs and engaging in picket training.

WHAT: RNs gather to prepare, hold media availability for March 4 strike
WHERE: Plymouth Congregational Church, 5301 N. Capitol St., NE
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The strike announcement follows negotiation sessions Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday that the nurses say produced insufficient progress toward resolving the RNs’ primary concerns regarding serious patient safety problems and nursing standards at the hospital.

Some 1,650 Washington Hospital Center RNs are represented by National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses.

In addition to patient care concerns, WHC RNs also object to attempts to cut nurses’ pay and benefits, and charge that the company violated federal labor law in implementing cuts in workplace and economic standards.  

The hospital 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.

WHC RNs voted overwhelmingly last week to grant the RN Facility Bargaining Council authorization to call a walkout. The nurses last week also released the findings of an internal survey of hospital employees conducted by the hospital last year which showed a significant percentage of WHC employees believe the hospital is lacking in patient safety.  WHC RNs have been without a contract since last June. NNU has represented the nurses since last October.