Cook County Health nurses ratify contract; system to add 300 nurses

Chicago-based Cook County Health will add 300 nurses under a new contract approved July 2, following nine months of negotiations and a one-day nurse strike that ended June 25.

Under the four-year contract with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, an affiliate of National Nurses United, Cook County Health agreed to hire 300 additional RNs within the next 18 months, with 125 of those positions being new additions. 

NNU said the contract includes wage increases for RNs ranging from 12 percent to 31 percent over the life of the contract. 

The public health system will also add 19 new patient care support positions in several units to provide optimal patient care during meal breaks, emergencies and other events. 

About 900 nurses who work at John H. Stroger Jr. and Provident hospitals, as well as at the system's clinics and at the Cook County Department of Corrections, went on strike June 24 through June 25, forcing the system to postpone some appointments and divert ambulances.  

NNU represents 1,250 nurses throughout Cook County Health.

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