Danny Glover
Danny Glover at Cannes. Photo by Georges Biard.

On Saturday, actor and activist Danny Glover was in Baltimore to join 2,000 Johns Hopkins service workers in demanding the hospital increase the employees’ “poverty pay” — which the union says requires many workers to rely on government assistance to make ends meet.

In Glover’s impassioned address to the crowd gathered McKeldin Square, he said the campaign is “a call to action”

and demanded that Hopkins administrators “get in that negotiating room.” (Also on hand, Wire actor Wendell Pierce had a more bumper sticker-ready slogan: “You can pay these employees a living wage at the greatest hospital in the world.”)

Johns Hopkins’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources Pamela Paulk replied to the media that administrators “are looking forward to being back at the table,” and according to the hospital’s blog, they’re just waiting for the union to take a break from its “media campaign” to continue good-faith negotiations.

That’s fine, but what’s discouraging is Paulk’s noting that starting pay for service workers, $10.71 an hour, is already much higher than the minimum wage. That’s true enough, but it makes administrators sound like they haven’t been listening. To my knowledge, the union has never claimed that the pay at Johns Hopkins is the lowest allowed by law, only that it isn’t enough to live on without government assistance.