A stand-off spilled into the streets of Silver Spring over unionizing.
On one side of Forest Glen Road, dozens of nurses and local leaders gathered out of frustration, chanting, waving signs and dancing to communicate a message to hospital management.
“[Management] needs to let us have a voice, and stop harassing us, intimidating us and surveilling us, as we try to talk to other nurses to try to organize them to advocate for our patients,” said Suzanne Mintz, Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse at Holy Cross Hospital.
Mintz claimed Holy Cross management is interfering with nurses’ right to organize a union.
“They’re trying to organize a union. They’ve never had one,” said Tom Hucker, Montgomery County Council member. “We support their efforts to do that. If nurses vote to have a union, they should have one, and management shouldn’t fight that.”
Nurses told WHAG they’ve been pulled from patients’ rooms by management to discuss the ills of unionizing.
“We have been told that we’re not allowed to talk to nurses anywhere in the hospital. They have followed us. We’ve been in situations where we’re talking with nurses and have had security come up behind and tell us we need to leave,” said Mintz.
But just steps away, you’d hear a different story.
“The main concern of having a union is it drives a wedge between staff and management,” said Francene Crum, nurse at Holy Cross Hospital. “The managers are fantastic. They listen to our every need. They have an open-door policy. It’s a great place to work, [because] it’s like a family atmosphere.”
Holy Cross Hospital’s response to Monday’s rallies:
“Holy Cross has been privileged to serve this community for over 50 years. We take this responsibility seriously, demonstrating it through significant community benefit provided to the region, reinvestment in our hospitals and health centers to provide high quality and accessible care to all. Today, Holy Cross Hospital demonstrated that in maintaining the high quality and service-oriented care while groups of nurses rallied outside the hospital both for and against unionization.
We value our one-on-one relationships among all colleagues at Holy Cross Health, and we aspire to protect and cultivate our strong workplace culture through direct communication and engagement. That includes maintaining an ongoing and open dialogue with our staff about things that we can improve and consistently working with colleagues to collaboratively address issues.
It is our belief that continuing this regular, direct engagement is absolutely critical to consistently delivering high-quality care to our patients, as well as creating a rewarding place to work. We respect our employees’ rights to explore associations with third party organizations. However, we also have significant concerns that the involvement of any third party organization in our workplace could disrupt the open and collaborative workplace we have long worked to maintain.
We will continue to educate and inform Holy Cross Health colleagues about their rights, as well as describe our vision for what best serves the needs of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve.
– Holy Cross Hospital spokesperson, Yolanda Gaskins