University of Illinois Health workers threaten Chicago strike

Employees at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System in Chicago are prepared to strike unless contract negotiations result in agreements on pay and working conditions, the union that represents them said. 

SEIU Local 73, which represents more than 4,000 workers at UIC, said 1,200 of its members at UI Health plan on delivering a strike petition to management Aug. 7 to show that workers are calling for a strike vote. 

"While University of Illinois Chicago prides itself on being the leading research university in the Midwest, the UI Hospital and health systems have failed their workers time and time again," a union media notice states. "They've been overworked and underpaid for years; the pandemic only made things worse. These healthcare workers have been fighting for better pay, safe working conditions and a fair contract for over year, and they are ready to say enough is enough."

Contracts for SEIU-represented UI Health workers expired last year. SEIU has four agreements that cover UI Health workers, and negotiations began in summer 2019. 

SEIU said workers want proper personal protective equipment, safe and appropriate staffing levels and fair and equitable pay, among other demands.

In a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review, UIC spokesperson Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez said the university and UI Health continue to negotiate with the union in good faith, and are hopeful both sides can reach an agreement on behalf of clerical, technical and service and maintenance units across the university.

"The union has not filed a notice to strike, and it is unknown whether or when a strike will occur," she said. "We remain committed to the bargaining process and will continue our efforts to reach responsible agreements with the union."


More articles on human resources:
Hackensack Meridian Health workers seek to unionize
HCA nurses win push for unionization election
Prime Healthcare reaches contracts with nearly 2,000 hospital workers

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