NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  April 9, 2014

Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages


The Real News goes to the picket lines as Johns Hopkins Hospital workers launch a three-day strike for living wages
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


Understanding info is a powerful thing. Thank you to all of your reporters for making a significant difference. - Nancy SmithEaken
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Jaisal Noor is a producer for The Real News Network. His stories have appeared on Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News and other independent news outlets. Jaisal was raised in the Baltimore-area, and has a degree in history from the University of Maryland, College Park.


transcript

Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair WagesPICKETER: We worked for it. We want it now! We worked for it. We want it now!

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: We're here at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It's considered the top hospital in the country and perhaps the world. But today it's the front line in the battle against income inequality and the fight for a living wage.

Hundreds of workers with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East walked off the job at 6 a.m. Wednesday after contract negotiations broke down. They say they will strike for three days against what they call poverty wages.

The hospital did not respond to The Real News' request for a comment and has thus far not spoken to the media about the strike. They've previously said they're offering a fair wage and cannot afford to pay more.

~~~

WILEY RHYMER, STRIKING HOPKINS HOSPITAL WORKER: --on the bargaining committee. And we're trying to get a fair living wage contract from Hopkins.

NOOR: And so they're saying that they can't afford to pay you guys any more. You know, Maryland just passed the $10.10 minimum wage, and from what I understand, all the workers get more than that. So talk about why you're asking for more money.

RHYMER: I'm asking for more money myself 'cause I'm taking four kids, I'm on public assistance, I get food stamps, I get Medicaid. And Hopkins has the nerve to say that they don't have the money. You're standing in front of two buildings they just built for $1 billion. They're buying up property on the east side to build more buildings. They got the money. They just don't want to give it out. And Maryland did raise the minimum wage to $10.10, but that ain't going to go into effect to, what, four years from now, and we're barely living now on what we got.

~~~

SAMMY DAVIS, STRIKING HOPKINS WORKER: Basically, you know, I'm a 15-year veteran and making, you know, a little under $13 an hour is just not acceptable. You know, everything's going up but the pay. And, you know, I know they say that it's a low-skill job position, but it's a high-risk job position as well. I get splashed with blood on a daily basis, have to take HIV prevention medicine, you know, all for basically $12.95. You know. And I'm saying I understand, you know, that they can't afford, but they got to at least bring this up fair. You know.

So, basically, I can't afford parking, so I park seven blocks away. I was leaving one night around eleven. You know, guys jumped me, you know, took my money because I've got to park so far I can't afford parking.

So at the end of the day, at 15 years--it'll be 16 years June 15, you know, and I'm basically making $12.97 without differential and things. And I move biohazard trash, so that's a risk in itself.

DORTHY COLE, HOPKINS HOSPITAL WORKER: I mean, I still live home with my father and I'm 25 years old. And it affects me in a lot of ways. I have to pay for school. I have to pay for everything. And it's just hard, living from paycheck to paycheck.

KEITH BARNES, HOPKINS HOSPITAL WORKER: Working here five and a half years, and I make $11.54 an hour.

I work in the ORs in a very hostile environment, and I have to go in there and thoroughly clean them. Sometimes--I was told 85 percent of the workers that--my coworkers that go into OR had came in with contact with hepatitis C. Now, I have contracted hepatitis C. Thank God that it's not--they can't find it now. I don't know if I got it from the ORs or not.

But each day, our life is put in jeopardy because the signs--you have contact precautions on the door. Sometimes they'll be taken off. So we've got to gown up and protect our whole entire body. Every day it's blood, it's needles, everything we've got to look for and watch out. You've got HIV in there. So if there's a needle laying on the floor--so I got to be very careful I won't infect myself.

This is a very hostile and a very stressful environment I work in sometimes. Now, we've been giving it the best we could. I'm very dedicated to this job, 'cause I like my job. But please just give us fair wages.

~~~

NOOR: So why is it important for you to be out here today in support of these workers? You're not on strike today, but you're out there supporting them.

GAIL KINGMAN, SEIU MEMBER AND REGISTERED NURSE: It's important because we're all brothers and sisters and we're all in the health care field. So we need to make sure that people are treated fairly, you have fair wages. We take care of everyone, and we need to be taken care of also.

NOOR: So you work for the union. You know, some people have criticized the unions and the Democratic Party for only demanding a $10.10 minimum wage, and the workers here are saying $10.10, $10 is not enough. What are your thoughts about the fact that these workers are kind of pushing the front line and saying they need closer to $15 to survive.

KINGMAN: Well, most of the workers here have been here longer than--this is not a job that they just started at. They've been here ten or more years, and they're still making $10.71 an hour. So even the minimum wage raising to $10.10 is not helping these workers for the support and the care that they give in the hospital.

~~~

DAVIS: You know. I mean, and I don't mind being on the forefront of that, because if we're doing this to better everybody that's coming behind me, you know, I'll do whatever it takes. No problem. Like I say, I'll be out here every day if it need be. If we've got to strike for a year, if it need be, I'm with it.

NOOR: The Real News will keep following developments in this story.

With Mark Provost, this is Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

'Recall Gov. Richard D. Snyder' Campaign in Michigan Gains Momentum
Supreme Court Just Made it Easier for the FBI to Hack Your Computer
The Real News of the Day - May 5, 2016
Glenn Greenwald: President's Impeachment Process in Brazil is a Trojan Horse for Neo-liberalism
Republican Mayors Opt for 100% Renewable
Detroit Begins Water Shutoffs for 20,000 Residents
The Real News of the Day - May 4, 2016
Is Sanders the Better Candidate to Defeat Trump?
Greenpeace Leaks Secret Pro-Corporate Trade Agreement
Indiana Primary: Trump Knocks Out Cruz & Sanders Upsets Clinton
Four Men Arrested for the Murder of Berta Caceres
Baltimore Election Under Intense Scrutiny
Spontaneous Protests in Baghdad Green Zone Show Cracks in the Security Apparatus
Detroit Teachers Shut Down Schools for Second Day Over Lack of Pay
Days of Revolt: The Assault of the Animal Agriculture Industry
The Real News of the Day - May 3, 2016
Chris Hedges: Activist Rev. Berrigan Targeted by Church Hierarchy
"Soft Coup" in Brazil is Destroying the Workers' Party and Social Programs
Before Freddie Gray, there was Tyrone West
Activists March Against Police Shooting of a 14-Year-Old in Baltimore
The Real News of the Day - May 2, 2016
A Global Roundup of May Day Marches and Protests
US and UK Arms Sales Fueling War Crimes in Yemen
If We Don't Get It Shut It Down!: Theatre as a voice of the people.
Sanders Supporters on Road to Insurrection in Democratic Party?
Jobless Economy and Citizenless Democracy (3/3)
Allegations of Anti-Semitism Fired up Ahead of Pivotal UK Local Elections
Jesse Jackson and Bernie Sanders: Comparing Two "Movement" Campaigns
Robert Scheer Talks With Eddie Conway About Making Real News After Prison
A Tale of Two Police Shootings

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting