University of Illinois nurses strike ends with progress on agreement

A strike by University of Illinois Hospital nurses in Chicago has ended amid progress toward a tentative agreement, according to hospital and union officials.

The strike by members of the Illinois Nurses Association began Sept. 12 with more than 800 nurses participating, The Chicago Tribune reported. They returned to work Sept. 19 without a contract.

Still, both sides expressed optimism about their progress in negotiations, with the union saying in a news release that progress has been made "on a number of important fronts, from wages and staffing to essential safety issues like improved PPE."

Regarding compensation, the hospital offered to continue annual anniversary increases for nurses, which average 2.44 percent, and up to $1,000 in incentive bonuses annually, "if hospital nursing quality care indicators are met," according to a Sept. 19 UIC statement.

The Illinois Nurses Association said the hospital also agreed to hire more than 200 nurses to address staffing, which has been a key sticking point in negotiations.

"We all agree that this is critical to our mission and to efficiently staff for safe patient care. This staffing investment will be a win for nurses, a win for the hospital and most importantly, a win for our patients and our community," the hospital's statement says.

Regarding PPE, the hospital committed to a 90-day rolling supply of PPE and agreed to look into reusable masks, the union said.

The Illinois Nurses Association has been in negotiations with the hospital for months, and the three-year contract between both sides has expired. Negotiations are scheduled to resume Sept. 21.

Meanwhile, a strike by members of SEIU Local 73 at University of Illinois at Chicago, which includes UI Health, continues.

SEIU Local 73 represents 4,000 clerical, service and maintenance, technical, and professional workers across the Chicago campus and at UI Health, as well as the regional campuses, and UIC Specialized Care for Children. 

UIC's current contracts with SEIU bargaining units expired between August and December last year. Both sides had not reached a new labor deal as of Sept. 19, and, according to the hospital, compensation remains a key sticking point in those talks.


More articles on human resources:
Nurses at HCA's Mission Health vote to unionize
5 recent hospital-union conflicts, agreements
Maryland hospital engaged in anti-union activities during nurse organizing campaign, NLRB rules

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