Ascension nurses in Illinois plan 3rd strike

Nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph-Joliet (Ill.), who are members of the Illinois Nurses Association, have called for their third strike in the last year. 

The union represents about 500 nurses at the facility. The hospital is part of St. Louis-based Ascension, one of the nation's largest nonprofit and Catholic hospital systems, with about 140 hospitals and other healthcare facilities in 19 states. 

Union members previously voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a series of strikes if needed, according to an INA news release shared with Becker's last year. On Nov. 10, they announced the first of this potential series of strikes will take place during Thanksgiving week. The union and hospital have been in negotiations since May. 

During negotiations, union members, who also went on strike in August, rejected a contract proposal from hospital management in December. Now, the hospital has unilaterally implemented that offer, the union contends in a Jan. 29 news release shared with Becker's.

"The Illinois Nurses Association … has clarified that the parties cannot be at [an] impasse," the release states. "The union has announced its willingness to continue making movement in negotiations, and has requested additional bargaining dates. 

"The union nurses overwhelmingly rejected Ascension's last offer for several reasons, including the company's insistence on certain non-monetary terms and conditions of employment which would pose serious health and safety risks to both nurses and patients."  

Ascension issued a response Jan. 29, saying that the hospital reasserted to INA its last, best and final offer for a new labor contract and declared an impasse on Dec. 22. 

"Given our impasse with INA, we made the decision to move forward with implementing our last contract offer," the statement reads. "We can no longer delay paying our nurses a competitive wage and must be able to successfully recruit and hire nurses to support our care teams. Joliet residents deserve ready access to the quality care they expect from Saint Joseph-Joliet, and we have the responsibility to ensure we have the ability to provide that care to all who need it." 

Since Dec. 22, union leadership has not provided their counter proposal to the hospital's offer, and has instead opted to strike, according to Ascension.

"Patient care, quality and safety remain our top priorities, and Ascension Saint Joseph-Joliet is once again well-prepared to remain open and care for our patients during this strike," Ascension's statement reads. "We have a comprehensive contingency plan in place to ensure there is no disruption in care or service for those we are privileged to serve."

The strike is scheduled to take place in early February.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars