Hospital workers at Howard University plan strike next week

Hundreds of workers at Howard University Hospital are planning a one-day strike next week to protest low pay.

The DC Nurses Association (DCNA) is organizing the strike that will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 11.

The union says nurses, pharmacists, and social workers are understaffed and underpaid, and the treatment of hospital staff is leading to retention issues.

“It really comes down to treating us with dignity and respect,” said nurse Jeanette Ethridge in a release about the upcoming strike. “They are understaffing in the hospital, and they are taking from us as costs continue to rise.”

According to DCNA, some of its members cite inconsistencies between Howard’s mission to serve the Black community and its behavior at the bargaining table. The vast majority of the union’s members are women of color.

Earlier this year, the hospital’s management backed out of talks with DCNA after months of negotiating for better pay.

Shortly after backing out, the union said that faith leaders from across D.C. sent a letter to Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick demanding that he bargain a fair contract with the union. Frederick didn’t respond to that letter, according to the union.

Union President Eileen Shaw characterized Howard’s offer as a slap in the face.

The union said it will be holding an 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. rally on the day of the strike. The rallies are open to the public.

WTOP’s Matthew Delaney contributed to this report.

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