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Nurses At D.C.'s Largest Hospital Go On Strike

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Nurses protesting outside Washington Hospital Center Friday morning.
WAMU Photo/Jessica Jordan
Nurses protesting outside Washington Hospital Center Friday morning.

More than 1,600 nurses are taking turns lining up outside of Washington Hospital Center with signs that read "Put patients before profits."

After a year of negotions with hospital management, members of the National Nurses United Union say they won't accept a proposal to cut pay for nurses who work night and weekend shifts.

"For some, its maybe just $1,000 a year less. For some it's going to be 20 or $30,000 a year less," says Stephen Frum, who's worked as a nurse here for 10 years.

Frum calls the cuts an attack on employees. But Matt Brock, spokesperson for the Washington Hospital Center, says reducing compensation is a necessary move. Instead of paying nurses a bonus differential, they'd get a flat rate for their time.

"Really it is the industry standard, and they are still the highest paid nurses in the region," he says.

Nurses will stike outside the hospital until 8 p.m. Friday and return to the picket lines at 6 a.m. Saturday.

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