Dozens of people, including elected officials and clergy, demonstrated Monday at Holy Cross Hospital in support of forming a nurses union.
Speakers at the Silver Spring rally included Montgomery County Council members Tom Hucker, Marc Elrich and Hans Riemer and Maryland Sens. Richard Madaleno and William Smith Jr. Clergy members and union leaders also joined the group, according to a spokesman with National Nurses United.
Nurses who support unionization contend that banding together would give them more power to address patient care concerns at the Catholic hospital founded in 1963. However, other hospital nurses have come out against the effort, saying it might lead to a fractured work environment.
A hospital spokeswoman said that Holy Cross provides high-quality medical care and has fought to create a strong culture of communication among staff members. While Holy Cross administrators recognize the nurses’ rights to explore unionization, they worry forming a labor organization could “distrupt the open and collaborative workplace we have long worked to maintain,” spokeswoman Yolanda Gaskins said in a prepared statement.
She said a separate group of people gathered outside the hospital Monday to stand against the unionization efforts.
Holy Cross Health, a nonprofit network that includes hospitals in Silver Spring and Germantown, employs more than 4,200 people and serves more than 248,000 patients annually. It has received the Workplace Excellence Seal of Approval from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence – a nonprofit group formed in Montgomery County to recognize positive work environments – every year since 1999.