Strike threat looms at Chicago's Mount Sinai, Schwab Rehabilitation hospitals

Workers at Chicago-based Mount Sinai Hospital have voted to empower their bargaining team to call a strike if they are unable to reach an agreement with hospital management, according to the union that represents them.

Service Employees International Union Healthcare said Oct. 2 that a strike would affect 400 certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, dietary workers and others at Mount Sinai and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital. Both hospitals are part of Chicago-based Sinai Health System.

The union said the workers seek to ensure they can provide quality care to people they serve on the city's South and West sides. 

"As the hospital industry focuses on the bottom line, most of the workers providing patient care and keeping the hospitals clean and safe are struggling to pay their bills, afford their own healthcare and contribute to their communities," SEIU Healthcare stated. "Understaffing is putting patients at risk. All of these practices are widening the racial disparities that already exist in the city."

The union said workers want "a voice on the job, dignity and fair compensation."

If the unionized workers go on strike, other Sinai System workers, including registered nurses, techs and registry workers, who seek union recognition, plan to walk off the job as well in solidarity.

Sinai Health System confirmed that it received notification of the strike authorization vote but noted that it has not received a 10-day notice of intent to strike, which is required before a walkout may occur.

The system told Becker's Hospital Review: "Sinai and the union have been in negotiations for approximately four months and have had multiple bargaining sessions, with progression toward signed agreements between the hospitals and the union. We remain confident we will reach resolution on a final contract in the near future.

"As always, Sinai Health System is committed to our mission and will remain prepared through contingency plans to provide patients and the community high-quality care for them and their loved ones."


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