John Hopkins Hospital and the union representing housekeepers, food servers and other workers were unable to agree on a contract Thursday night, leaving open the possibility for a strike beginning April. 9.

Local union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is working on behalf of 2,000 hospital employees to push for wage increases. They say many of the workers are on food stamps Medicaid and other public assistance.

A Hopkins spokeswoman reiterated Friday that hospital officials were working "to reach a settlement that's fair to everyone and reflects financial responsibility on the part of the hospital." She added that they will not negotiate through the media.

Hopkins' latest proposal calls for a minimum wage of $13 an hour in the first year of the agreement for workers with at least 15 years experience, union leaders said. Most Hopkins workers have been there for a less amount of time, according to the union. The hospital is also offering across-the-board 1.25 percent in each of the first two years of the proposed five-year contract.

The union has proposed a $15 minimum wage for workers with at least 15 years experience over the life of a four-year contract. It originally called for every worker to get $15 within four years.

The starting salary of the workers represented by the union ranges from $10.71 to $27.88 per hour, depending on the job, according to Hopkins officials.

Negotiations are set to resume Monday.

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

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