Coalition for a Humane Hopkins, Hopkins Nurses United, and TRU attempt to get a meeting with JHU Hospital Administration

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In the foreground is a red sign which says: "Hey Hopkins, Respect RNs' right to organize." In the background is the facade of the Hopkins Medicine's Billing's administration building.

Today TRU stood in solidarity with Hopkins Nurses United and Coalition For A Humane Hopkins- CAHH as we tried to get a meeting with Hopkins Hospital administration. Here is an account of the events of this morning.

First, our group of Hopkins workers, activists, community members, and more entered the lobby of the Billings administrative building. We were looking for the office of Redonda Miller, the president of Johns Hopkins Hospital, to have a meeting with her and deliver a petition concerning improvements to the hospital.

As soon as we walked past the large statue of Jesus in the lobby we were approached by a security guard. “You’re not allowed back here. Do you have an appointment?” he asked.
Tours go through this area fairly frequently but there was something about our group which immediately signaled to the guard that despite the fact that many of us are *employees of Hopkins* we were trespassing.
Is it because we weren’t dressed in fancy suits?
Is it because many of our faces don’t look like those in the portraits hanging on the walls?
Or is it because there is a little too much fire in our eyes?

Our assorted group attempted to show the flaws in the system to the security guard. How can we set up a meeting if no one will return our calls or emails? “Not my problem,” he said.
As Jesus looked on in the background, we continued to ask for the guard’s assistance. Can they or someone else set up an appointment for us? Is there an administrator who can meet with us here? Would someone be willing to relay a message?

Instead, the guard called for backup.

*Eight* security guards surrounded our group. We continued to ask for help in setting up a meeting or delivering our message. Instead we were told to disperse and leave the building. That “the doors are locked for a reason.” That we don’t have a right to trespass on private property (even though many of us are Hopkins employees). And as some people filmed the interactions with the guards, we were told to put down our phones, that filming is “against policy.” For some reason it seemed much more urgent to the guards that we not film them than that we exit the building (although they wanted that too).

Father Ty Hullinger was with us, and he tried to appeal to the humanity of our cause. No luck. Although, if the Jesus statue came to life and asked to speak with an administrator they’d probably tell him to make an appointment too!

Finally, we read out our petition and delivered the demands and signatures to the most senior security guard in the hope that they would pass them along. The demands included:

  • Suspending the filing of medical debt lawsuits, and dropping all current medical debt lawsuits against patients.
  • Reviewing prior cases in order to reimburse those patients who have been billed more than they should have paid under charity care rules.
  • Screening all patients for charity care eligibility at admissions and increasing signage and notifications about charity care.
  • Removing the citizenship requirement policy for charity care.
  • Meeting with the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins to negotiate a process for implementing these demands in a transparent manner that is accountable to the community.

We left the building and rallied on the sidewalk outside the hospital. Although it was hot as blazes out, we felt invigorated, because Hopkins hospital had shown they are afraid of us! They are afraid because they know we are right and they know we can AND WILL win!

The next rally to improve patient care at Hopkins is coming up July 20th and we hope all the members of TRU will be there to show our belief that a better Hopkins is possible!

Our march with Hopkins Nurses and the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins was covered online in Med Page Today.

Hopkins Nurses Speak Out at Townhall

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five people st in a row at a long red table. A sign in front of each person identifies them. Above the panelists is a powerpoint projection reading "Hopkins Nurses Speak Out. December 1, 2018."

On December 1, nurses from the Johns Hopkins Hospital presented a report with disturbing information about patient care at Hopkins. They revealed that Hopkins frequently sues its patients for unpaid medical debt. Those targeted by these lawsuits are predominantly poor and Black Baltimoreans. In addition, nurses shared how Hopkins has been illegally intimidation in its efforts to thwart the formation of a nurses’ union.

A flyer with the event details for the "Hopkins Nurses Speak Out" event. The event is described as a "town hall on patient care and public accountability."

A representative of TRU spoke at the event in support. TRU supports the unionization of all workers at Johns Hopkins. Just as the working conditions of graduate students are the learning conditions of undergraduate students, so too the working conditions of nurses are the conditions of care for their patients. Working conditions and the quality of work are inextricably linked. In addition, as workers of Hopkins we will continue to hold our employer to a higher standard. We deserve, and the wider community deserves, a better Hopkins. Unions can continue to hold Hopkins accountable.

A recording of the event is available on Facebook, and the town hall was covered by multiple media outlets. In addition, the JHU News-Letter published an editorial in support.

TRU Condemns JHU Union-busting against Nurses

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Johns Hopkins Hospital management has been engaging in illegal activities by attempting to block the organizing of a nurses union at Johns Hopkins Hospital. These illegal activities include preventing nurses from speaking with their colleagues in other departments during breaks or from coming into work on their days off. The NLRB has confirmed that Hopkins has engaged in illegal union-busting activities.

Two members of TRU were interviewed in a recent article in the Hopkins News Letter regarding the university’s union-busting. TRU unequivocally condemns the university’s illegal activities and supports the nurses in their efforts to unionize for better working conditions and patient care. One representative said:

“As grads at Hopkins work to strengthen our own union, it’s vital that we continue to support and stand in solidarity with the nurses in their struggle. When Hopkins tries to bust up unions, mistreat its workers or pursue unjust policies, the only way the community can hope to hold it accountable is by standing together.”

Another member said:

“Of course an institution like Hopkins would absolutely hate it if graduate students and nurses started their own unions. They would have to bargain with us, they would have to give us better working conditions and job security. And while I would argue that all of these things would only improve the productivity and efficiency of Hopkins workers across the board, I am sure the administration sees it as a gigantic thorn in their side.”

The full article is available on the JHU News Letter website.

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TRU ANNOUNCES THE FORMATION OF A GRADUATE STUDENT UNION

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A crowd gathers in front of the Eisenhower library steps under a cloudless blue sky. Some people carry signs saying "I support my TA" or "TRU working for you" or "Grad worker". Many people are also wearing buttons. There is a photographer and two videographers. Gilman hall is visible in the background.

On September 26, TRU announced the public formation of a union of graduate students across all divisions at Johns Hopkins. Representatives from the National Nurses Union (NNU) at Hopkins, the grad union at Georgetown, and the union of security guards also spoke at the rally. A letter in support of unionization signed by over 200 graduate workers was distributed after the event.

The rally and announcement was covered by multiple news outlets including the JHU News Letter, the Real News Network, and the Baltimore Sun.

A sepia-colored poster announces a rally for grad workers with the title "Stand Up Speak Out". Three fists with different skin tones are raised up in front of a Gilman Hall tower which is faded int the background. Text running up the right side of the poster reads "Stand with us to build graduate workers' power at JHU"