University of Illinois Hospital, nurses reach agreement after 7-day strike

University of Illinois Hospital nurses in Chicago who went on strike earlier this month have reached a tentative, four-year contract with hospital management, according to the union that represents them.

The contract includes a guaranteed rolling-90-day supply of personal protective equipment; wage increases; hazard pay for work during pandemics; universal N95 masking; and a commitment to hire at least 160 more nurses, the Illinois Nurses Association said in a news release.

A majority of all 1,400 union nurses must approve the agreement before it takes effect. The vote is scheduled for Sept. 28.

The Illinois Nurses Association had been in negotiations with the hospital for months, and nurses began a week-long strike Sept. 12. The strike ended Sept. 19 amid progress toward a tentative agreement. A key issue in negotiations was staffing. The union advocated for limiting the number of patients assigned to each nurse, while the hospital said it supported a patient acuity-based staffing model.

"We are gratified to achieve this hard-fought victory after months of negotiations — this represents a vast improvement compared to where we were before the strike and we are happy to see that the hospital recognized the importance of safe staffing," Illinois Nurses Association President Doris Carroll, RN, said in a news release.

Michael Zenn, CEO of University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics, also praised the agreement. 

"We are very pleased that we have been able to come to a tentative agreement and we are grateful that our nurses chose to return to work on Sept. 19, following a seven-day strike. This is in the best interest of our patients and our UI Health family," he said in a statement.

This story was updated at 2:01 p.m. CDT on Sept. 24.


More articles on human resources:
Nurses at HCA's Mission Health vote to unionize
5 recent hospital-union conflicts, agreements
SEIU postpones hospital strike, says Allina threatened to file labor complaint

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