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Johns Hopkins Hospital accused of retaliating against unionizing nurses, including firing one

The National Nurses United union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board charging Johns Hopkins Hospital officials with retaliating against two nurses involved in an organizing effort there.

The nurses allege Hopkins was hostile toward them for their work to form the union. One said she was fired when she was seven months pregnant and had recently requested family leave. That nurse, an African American woman, also alleged Hopkins racially discriminated against her after she and other black nurses pursued more fairness and equity in their unit.

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The nurses previously complained to the NLRB about other alleged labor law violations, including interfering with their organizing efforts. The NLRB found evidence to proceed and scheduled a hearing on March 6.

The nurses began their effort to unionize last year after they said they were overworked and underpaid and that was affecting patient care.

Hopkins disputes those allegations.

“We deeply respect our nurses, their contributions to our organization, and all of their rights as employees including their right to support or oppose a union,” said Ken Willis, a Hopkins spokesman, in a statement. “As a standard practice we do not discuss individual personnel matters. In all cases, we follow a standardized and rigorous human resources process before any employee is dismissed. We believe the union’s charges lack merit, and we stand by our workplace practices.”

According to the NLRB process, a judge can dismiss the complaint or order Hopkins to stop unfair labor practices, which could be enforced or reviewed by an appeals court. The federal board can order an employer to rehire an employee found to be fired as retaliation for organizing a union.

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