The dispute between the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the union representing about 2,000 of its workers still hasn’t been resolved, with both parties implying the other is to blame.
All-day talks Tuesday broke down that night after representatives from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and hospital administrators failed to agree on key wage-related provisions in the workers’ contract.
“We really think that what we put on the table at the end of the day yesterday was a very good offer,” said Bonnie Windsor, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins Health System. “And we requested that the union leadership take our proposal to the union membership for a vote.”
Union representatives declined to do so.
But union spokesman Jim McNeill said the workers’ bargaining committee made “a number of compromises” Tuesday. He pointed the finger at Hopkins for refusing to budge on certain key points.
“We made progress Tuesday, but the hospital needs to make more movement to reach a settlement that provides the fair wages that workers need and deserve,” McNeill said.
Tuesday’s negotiations were scheduled after Gov. Martin O’Malley stepped in to stop a four-day strike that had been planned for last weekend. O’Malley asked the parties to take a one-week cooling off period, which ends Friday.
Union representatives agreed to call off the strike, but now — after again failing to reach an agreement with hospital management — the workers still might decide to hit the picket line.
McNeill declined Wednesday to comment on that possibility due to the ongoing cooling-off period.
“But I have a feeling we’ll have lots to say on [Saturday],” he wrote in an email.
The workers are made up of kitchen staff, maintenance workers and environmental services employees, including floor technicians and area cleaners responsible for changing patients’ linens, sterilizing rooms and floors, and discarding medical waste.
The two parties have been in negotiations since March, when the previous labor contract ended. Union members went on strike for three days in April. Other employees, such as nurses, covered those workers’ shifts during that period.
A previous round of negotiations stalled last week when the medical institution and the union failed to agree on a minimum wage for all Hopkins workers, with the union pushing for $14 an hour and the hospital settling on $12.25.
Windsor said Hopkins has now agreed to immediately implement a $15 minimum wage for employees with 20 years of experience, but that the two parties can’t agree on what the minimum wage should be for all employees by 2018, the last year of the contract.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.