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Union workers picket P.G. County hospitals

Just a few days after Johns Hopkins Hospital workers wrapped up their labor strike, another group of hospital employees are forming other picket lines, this time in Prince George’s County.

Nurses and caregivers at several hospitals within the Dimensions Health Care System rejected their employer’s final contract offer after nearly a year of negotiations between the company and the union, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

The workers aren’t actually on strike — at least not yet. They did vote to authorize a strike if such an action is deemed necessary, but for now, the group is launching an “informational picket” that began at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The main picket line was outside Laurel Regional Hospital, and smaller picket lines were at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly and Glenridge Medical Center in Lanham.

On April 2, 1199SEIU filed charges against Dimensions Health Care System of regressive bargaining — as opposed to bargaining in good faith — with the National Labor Relations Board.

A Dimension spokesperson told the Washington Business Journal that the hospital system was committed to negotiating a fair contract with workers and that the job action was an attempt to disrupt patient care.

The union maintains that its members have supported the survival of Dimensions by going with either no or very little increase in salary while pushing for better conditions for patient care and safety.