Chicago hospital workers deliver strike notice

Members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois are set to begin an open-ended strike July 31 over what they allege are substandard wages and the urgent need for safe staffing at Chicago-based Loretto Hospital.

The union represents about 200 workers, according to a statement shared with Becker's on behalf of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. Loretto Hospital is a nonprofit community-based organization located on Chicago's West Side. 

The union members' contract expired June 30, and they have an extension until July 25, according to the statement. The union and hospital have been negotiating a new labor contract since May. On July 19, healthcare workers at Loretto Hospital delivered a 10-day strike notice to the hospital "to discuss how management has left them with no other choice but to strike," according to a union news release.

"Workers are taking a stand after management failed to address crucial issues around substandard wages and the urgent need for safe staffing," the release states. "Management at Loretto Hospital has yet to address these core issues, and has also failed to address workers' demand for a Juneteenth holiday."

Loretto Hospital shared a statement with Becker's saying that the hospital is currently bargaining with the union to reach a new contract. 

"We appreciate our employees in the SEIU and respect their right to bargain. We have not been able to reach a new agreement yet, but we will continue to work toward that goal. We are hopeful we will get a new agreement soon," the hospital said.

A strike could be averted if both sides reach an agreement. Striking employees would include patient transporters, patient care technicians, emergency room technicians, mental health and behavioral health workers, respiratory and radiology technicians, housekeeping workers, and others, according to the union.

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