The Work We Do: Sinai Hospital and Greater Baltimore Medical Center

January 2, 2019

Workers at several Baltimorearea hospitals including Sinai and Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) recently settled a set of landmark, memberdriven collective bargaining agreements. To win, union delegates and negotiating committees employed strategy and solidarity, organizing rankand- filers, packing bargaining sessions and focusing on inclusivity. In the end, Baltimore caregivers worked together to win contracts that protect health care and other benefits as well as provide unprecedented wage increases of a $15 minimum and percentage increases for higherearning workers.


1. “The contract was amazing and surprising. I really didn’t know what to expect from management. We were really strong. We had people coming in and out of bargaining all day. There was so much support,” says Delegate and Bargaining Committee member Apple Wall, an OR Environmental Services worker at GBMC.


2. Bargaining committee member Nijah Cooper has been a patient transporter at Sinai Hospital for two years. Strong contracts for workers help all of Baltimore, she says. “I think we did really well. When people make more money, they are not out on the street struggling or doing other things to get by. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but we will continue to go up from here.”


3. Ida Bazemore has worked in Sinai’s Laundry Dept. for 30 years.


4. Roy Smith has worked in Sinai’s Receiving Department for 45 years. “We go to every floor where there are patients. We keep the supply rooms stocked. We work around the clock in this department. Now we do everything with a computer, but that wasn’t always the situation. You used to have to write things on paper, and you’d have to enter it in the system.”


5. OR Support Associate Bilal Muhammed was a forklift operator before coming to work in the Environmental Services Dept. at GBMC. He became a CNA three years ago. “I had to do schooling for this job and the Union paid for it,” he says. “I went to Baltimore County Community College. I got certified in CPR, got my CNA license and got licensed as a bariatric surgery CNA.”


6. “Working here is like working with family,” says Bunny Harding, a multifunctional tech at GBMC’s Women’s and Outpatient Services Center. “We have a good team. I greet people with a smile. Sometimes patients are afraid or in pain and being greeted with a smile or a hug is soothing.


7. Patricia Reed-El works in Sinai’s cafeteria. She’s a delegate, bargaining committee member and political activist. “We had a lot more people involved in this contract than in past negotiations. They came to meetings and wanted to be involved in Union matters. If we don’t make sure people feel included, they’ll lose interest and negativity will develop.”


8. “I have been all around this hospital. I worked in the OR, the ER and on Mother- Baby. I’ve also been a patient,” says Environmental Services Worker Patricia Montgomery. “I was here last year to have my shoulder replaced.”


9. Mother-Baby Unit Secretary Audrey Jackson started at Sinai as a housekeeper 24 years ago. She tries to ensure the smoothest arrival possible for new Marylanders and their parents. Jackson is also a delegate, bargaining committee member and political activist.

1199 Magazine: November / December 2018