Hopkins service workers to strike again Friday

The labor union representing Johns Hopkins Hospital's service workers has reached a bargaining impasse with hospital officials and expects to strike Friday.

The 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union gave notice last week to authorize a four-day strike, which would be its second in two months after a three-day strike in April. The union's spokesman, Jim McNeill, said Wednesday night that the two groups had spent the day bargaining, but the hospital's final offer fell short of the union's demands.

The union, which represents 2,000 housekeepers, cooks and other hospital workers, seeks a $15 minimum wage for workers with at least 15 years of experience in the second year of a proposed four-year contract. Workers currently start at $10.71 to $27.88 per hour, depending on their job, and the union proposed that every Hopkins worker earn at least $14 an hour by the end of the contract.

Hopkins management offered to pay all workers with 15 years of experience $15 by 2018, with every hospital worker making $12.25 an hour by the end of the contract, according to a breakdown provided by the union. The union turned down that proposal, and the hospital told the employees it did not plan to make a counteroffer before the strike begins, McNeill said.

"We are surprised and deeply disappointed that Hopkins is apparently making no further effort to avert the strike," he wrote in an email.

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