Striking Illinois nurses reject Amita Health contract offer

Striking nurses at Amita Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet (Ill.) have rejected a new contract offer, citing what they say is a failure by hospital administration to adequately address staffing levels, according to the union that represents them.

The Illinois Nurses Association has been negotiating on behalf of about 720 nurses at the facility, with staffing being a key sticking point.

"The nurses have spoken loud and clear: They are demanding staffing improvements with guarantees," Pat Meade, RN, one of the lead union negotiators, said in a news release. "This latest offer did not go far enough. The staffing crisis in this hospital needs real solutions."

The union has pushed for limits on the number of patients a nurse can be assigned to at a given time and making staffing plans enforceable. 

The union said it will now develop a modified agreement that includes measures "to hold Amita accountable on staffing issues as well as protections to ensure each hospital unit floor is staffed to account for patient safety."

The union and hospital administration have been negotiating since early spring.  Nurses have worked without a new contract since May 9 and launched a strike July 4.

Amita Health confirmed nurses rejected the hospital's latest offer and expressed disappointment about the decision.

"We believed this agreement was fair and balanced, addressing the criteria the INA indicated were important to its members," hospital officials said in an emailed statement to Becker's. "Despite the rejection of the tentative agreement, we are committed to continued negotiations in good faith. Our focus has been and shall remain to arrive at a mutual agreement that is fair and just for our nurses, allows for the long-term financial stability of the medical center and allows us to continue providing high-quality, compassionate care to the communities we serve."



More articles on human resources:
HCA Mission Hospital nurses seek more staffing amid COVID-19 surge
Prime Healthcare hospital workers vote to unionize
Pennsylvania hospital workers aim to stop 250 job cuts


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