CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A protest at an MUSC Board of Trustees meeting discussed diversity within the hospital. The protest was led by the group Hospital Workers United. They basically had three core concerns: the lack of diversity within the hospital, the treatment of hospital workers, and the absence of public comment at board meetings. This group has been pushing for an increase in salary for minimum wage hospital employees for years. They urge the hospital to raise the rates of the cleaning and cafeteria staff to $15 per hour. They also say there is not a proper grievance procedure in place, and when these employees have concerns their voices are not heard. HWU also says they have continually pushed for public comment within board meetings, but still cannot directly address the trustees. They want increased diversity within the hospital, specifically in management who will make more inclusive polices for the institution as a whole.
Community advocate, Thomas Dixon, says, “The reason why there is a diversity and inclusion council here is because of the work that we put in pressuring them to address the issue of diversity and inclusion. It’s not because they got up one day and said ‘We need to be more diverse and inclusive’, no. It’s because of the work that we did and they brought the team in, but the team is a smoke and mirrors shell game. It’s not reality because worker issues are still not being addressed, and nothing’s happening. It is the same as it was three years ago.”
When News 2 asked MUSC to address the protestors’ concerns, they gave us the below flyer which breaks down some of the hospital’s diversity efforts. Some of these include being in the 97th percentile for medical schools with the most African American students, putting in place diversity officers and inclusion training, and spending $52 million with women and minority-owned businesses during recent development projects.