Why more nurse strikes could be on the horizon in Chicago, nationwide

Changing hospital working condition and consolidation are among the factors that may lead to even more nurse walkouts in Chicago and across the country, according to the Chicago Tribune.

About 2,200 nurses at University of Chicago Medical Center in Hyde Park walked off the job Sept. 20. Negotiations have resumed since the strike, which was organized by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/ National Nurses United. But the possibility of another walkout looms since nurses and the medical center have not resolved issues that prompted the September strike, the Tribune reported.

Nurses at hospitals in Florida, California and Arizona also went on strike Sept. 20. Those strikes affected thousands of nurses at 12 hospitals owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare.

And earlier this month, workers at Chicago-based Mount Sinai Hospital voted to empower their bargaining team to call a strike if they are unable to reach an agreement with hospital management. According to the Tribune, Mount Sinai nurses seek recognition of their union, and are considering joining unionized workers at Mount Sinai if a walkout occurs.

Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, told the Tribune that nurses may feel insecure as more hospitals consolidate. He also cited the high demand for experienced nurses and changing working conditions.

"The working conditions, by most standards, have actually gotten worse," Mr. Bruno told the Tribune. "Pay has really not increased much, while at the same time, the profitability of these large concentrated healthcare entities has been quite high."

Generally, hospitals have denied union allegations of poor working conditions and reiterated their commitment to negotiations and preventing strikes.

Read the full Tribune report here.


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