Chicago clinic workers begin strike

Members of the Illinois Nurses Association began a two-day strike Nov. 14 at Howard Brown Health and Brown Elephant locations around the Chicago area.

The union represents various roles at the healthcare clinic system, from nurse practitioners to retail employees, according to a Nov. 12 INA news release shared with Becker's. Howard Brown Health, which serves the LGBTQ+ community in the Chicago area, is a federally qualified health center with 11 clinics.

Union members authorized a strike in October, according to the release. The union and Howard Brown Health have been in negotiations for a new contract for more than a year. The clinic system said in a Nov. 8 Facebook post that it gave the union a final contract offer, which includes a raise of 4.5% to 19.7% for each worker immediately this year and 3.25% next year. The offer also includes an additional paid holiday, as well as dozens of tentative agreements with the union regarding issues such as bereavement leave and labor-management meetings. 

Union members contend that fair wages, affordable insurance and protections in the event of layoffs remain sticking points in bargaining. "Workers have complained for many years that they do not receive fair wages, working conditions free from harassment, or reasonable benefits," the union said in the release. "These issues were what spurred the union's formation in 2022 and have fueled continuing organizing."

"We value our staff and are proud of the many improvements we have worked on together in this negotiation process," Howard Brown Health said in a statement. "We hope to reach agreement on a final contract."

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