WASHINGTON — Nurses at Howard University Hospital in Northwest, who are members of the D.C. Nurses Association, are going on strike Monday.
The strike begins at 7:30 a.m. with the aim being "to demand a fair contract and safe staffing to protect patients."
According to a news release from the D.C. Nurses Association, nurses have experienced cuts to shifts which "will reduce nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and social workers’ compensation and negatively affect retention at the hospital." The union notes that healthcare professionals have already been struggling with understaffing over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It really comes down to treating us with dignity and respect. They are understaffing in the hospital, and they are taking from us as costs continue to rise. Allowing us to maintain our financial dignity reflects respect. Providing enough staff so we can care for our patients the way they deserve to be cared for reflects respect,” said Jeanette Ethridge, RN, (Behavioral Health) at Howard University Hospital said in a statement.
The nurses plan to picket and rally outside the hospital several times Monday. The strike will end at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12.
Howard University Hospital issued a statement saying the 24-hour strike will not impact patient care at the hospital.
"While we are deeply disappointed that the Union has made this decision, we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that, during the one day strike, our patients continue to receive the same high-quality care in a safe environment that they expect and deserve," a hospital spokesperson said in a statement.
"The hospital has been working diligently to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with DCNA, including participating in over 20 collective bargaining sessions and five mediation days. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reach an agreement. We have already implemented hourly wage increases averaging 9.6% based on our final proposal. Howard University Hospital is properly staffed and we have made proposals to the Union to work together to address future staffing needs. We respect and appreciate our RNs and all of our staff members at the hospital that deliver consistently excellent care for our patients," the statement continues.