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D.C. Council asks GW Hospital officials to allow union vote, stop alleged unfair labor practices

File Photo by Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor
The judge said GW Hospital officials argued the flat rule resulted in “double taxation,” and the “ultimate consumers” of the prepared meals should have paid the sales tax, not them.

D.C. Council members signed a letter last week calling on GW Hospital officials to allow nurses to hold a union vote.

Eight council members and D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson signed a letter to GW Hospital CEO Kimberly D. Russo May 16 that states the council learned of the District of Columbia Nursing Association’s ongoing unionization effort among hospital nurses and the union’s filing of unfair labor practice complaints, including one that claims hospital management fired registered nurse Angelo Estrellas for union involvement. The letter calls for Estrellas’ immediate reinstatement and requests officials allow nurses to hold a “fair and free” union vote and refrain from illegal conduct that may dissuade nurses from unionizing.

DCNA refiled unfair labor practice complaints in two cases last month, alleging the hospital – a subsidiary of Universal Health Services – removed pro-union signage and held meetings dissuading nurses from unionizing, and contesting the hospital’s “unfair dismissal” of Estrellas. DCNA claimed in a March release that management terminated Estrellas because of his involvement in organizing a union at the hospital and Edward Smith, DCNA’ s executive director, said earlier this month that the hospital contested Estrellas’ unemployment benefits after his removal, which the union appealed.

The letter and labor practice complaints come after 750 GW Hospital registered nurses filed a union election petition in March for increased negotiating power in hospital policy decisions like nurse-to-patient ratios.

“Given its history of refusing to recognize labor unions in its facilities throughout the United States, we do not expect UHS to voluntarily recognize DNCA as the exclusive representative of GWUH RNs, but we do expect that you adhere to federal laws and do not intimidate, coerce or retaliate against nurses who are seeking to form or join the union,” the letter reads.

Multiple unionization efforts at other UHS-owned facilities have failed, like those at medical centers in PennsylvaniaCalifornia and Nevada.

GW Hospital did not immediately return a request for comment regarding whether officials received the letter.

Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto, who represents the area encompassing Foggy Bottom, signed the letter and did not immediately return a request for comment. Ward 3 Council member Matt Frumin, who signed the letter and represents the area including the Mount Vernon Campus, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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About the Contributor
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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