South Carolina Hospital Accused of Tarnishing the Legacy of Coretta Scott King

Nearly 50 years after Coretta Scott King helped lead a historic strike of nurses in Charleston, nurses there say little has changed. (Post Courier)

Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk filed  a dispatch for the Guardian examining how little has changed since the 1969 Charleston Nurses Strike:

Workers at the hospital still lack collective bargaining rights and some custodians at the university make as little $9 an hour. Lacking a union contract, workers say the overwhelmingly white management disproportionately fires black workers, a charge MUSC denies.

In an email to the Guardian, MUSC stated: “It has been, and will continue to be, the policy of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to recruit, hire, train and promote into all job levels the most qualified persons without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

While the majority of the workforce at the hospital is black, some MUSC employees argue that people of color are primarily consigned to less prestigious jobs such as custodians, hospital technicians and nurses, while more prestigious jobs in management, as doctors and in the more prestigious nursing positions in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are staffed primarily by white people.

“If you walk through that unit right now and you see someone who looks like me please tell me,” said one former nurse at MUSC, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

While the hospital has hired staff to focus on making MUSC more diverse and inclusive, black workers claim their voices are not heard. Indeed, they say, the board of trustees of MUSC will not even let workers speak during public comment periods at regular public meetings.

Read the rest at the Guardian. 

 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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