University of Illinois Hospital, nurses reach agreement after 7-day strike

University of Illinois Hospital nurses in Chicago who went on strike earlier this month have reached a tentative, four-year contract with hospital management, according to the union that represents them.

The contract includes a guaranteed rolling-90-day supply of personal protective equipment; wage increases; hazard pay for work during pandemics; universal N95 masking; and a commitment to hire at least 160 more nurses, the Illinois Nurses Association said in a news release.

A majority of all 1,400 union nurses must approve the agreement before it takes effect. The vote is scheduled for Sept. 28.

The Illinois Nurses Association had been in negotiations with the hospital for months, and nurses began a week-long strike Sept. 12. The strike ended Sept. 19 amid progress toward a tentative agreement. A key issue in negotiations was staffing. The union advocated for limiting the number of patients assigned to each nurse, while the hospital said it supported a patient acuity-based staffing model.

“We are gratified to achieve this hard-fought victory after months of negotiations — this represents a vast improvement compared to where we were before the strike and we are happy to see that the hospital recognized the importance of safe staffing,” Illinois Nurses Association President Doris Carroll, RN, said in a news release.

The hospital told Becker’s Hospital Review the morning of Sept. 24 that a statement would be available later in the day.

Members of SEIU Local 73 at University of Illinois at Chicago, which includes UI Health, have also been on strike since Sept. 14.

SEIU Local 73 represents 4,000 clerical, service and maintenance, technical, and professional workers across the Chicago campus and at UI Health, as well as the regional campuses, and UIC Specialized Care for Children. The union said it will provide a bargaining update announcement Sept. 24.

 

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