The regional office of the National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a hearing to investigate complaints that Johns Hopkins Hospital stymied nurses’ efforts to unionize.
An administrative judge will hear testimony from nurses as well as Hopkins management to determine whether the institution violated federal labor laws.
The NLRB previously found evidence that Hopkins officials are restricting the rights of nurses trying to unionize, and has said it would file a formal complaint if officials don’t address problems.
Nurses have accused hospital staff of barring nurses from coming to work on their days off to talk to colleagues on their breaks about the unionization effort. It also prohibited nurses from talking about union issues at work, but not other non-work issues, the nurses said.
The hearing, which is open to the public, will take place March 6 at 10 a.m. in the Bank of America Center, Tower II, 6th floor, 100 S. Charles St.
Union proponents applauded news of the hearing, saying, “The NLRB is sending a message to Johns Hopkins that they cannot disregard nurses’ right to organize,” Kim Henriquez, a registered nurse at the hospital, said in a statement.
The nurses who are organizing say they began pushing for a union because they were overworked and underpaid, and high turnover has created a shortage that puts patients at risk.
The nurses are working with National Nurses United to gain enough supporters to bring the idea of forming a union to a vote.
Hopkins spokeswoman Kim Hoppe dismissed the union’s charges and said the hospital “stand[s] by our workplace practices.” She called the hearing a “procedural step” and “not a verdict or final determination.”
She also said Hopkins respects its nurses and their rights to support or oppose a union.
According to NLRB process, the judge can dismiss the complaint or order Hopkins to stop unfair labor practices, which could be enforced or reviewed by an appeals court.