In 1968, workers at Medical College Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina – many of them African-American women with little education earning only $1.30 an hour – began to agitate for a 30 cent wage increase, desegregation of the hospital's medical staff, and the end of racist treatment by white hospital workers. Toward the end of the year, the hospital's nonprofessional workers, led by Naomi White, contacted the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) for assistance. The SCLC asked Local 1199 to help the workers form a union, which it did. The new union was known as Local 1199B. Mary Moultrie was elected the local's first president, and she requested that Medical College Hospital recognize the union in February 1969. Medical College Hospital president Dr. William McCord agreed to meet with the union leadership to discuss their grievances but when union representatives arrived at his office, McCord was absent. The workers staged an impromptu protest and the administration fired 12 of them. More than 300 service workers at Medical College Hospital walked off the job on March 19, 1969. The strikers demanded recognition of 1199B, a fair grievance procedure, a 30 cent raise, and the rehiring of the 12 workers. Although strike planners intended for the strike to be peaceful, violence quickly broke out. A week after the Medical College Hospital workers struck, a third of the service and maintenance workers at Charleston County Hospital joined them on the picket lines. Like their peers at Medical College Hospital, the workers were overwhelmingly Black, female, and poor. On May 11, over 5,000 people marched in support of the striking hospital workers, which brought national attention to the strike.