Illinois hospital workers lobby for $15 minimum wage, union rights

Illinois hospital workers protested in Chicago July 23 over wages and union rights.

The workers, represented by Service Employees International Union, protested at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association offices for a $15 minimum wage and "allowing workers to participate in labor unions, free from intimidation and retaliation," according to the union.

They claim hospitals in the Chicago area routinely pay frontline service workers minimum wage or slightly above it, and that this results in financial gain for the industry.

"We frontline hospital service workers deserve a much bigger share of the billions of dollars in revenue generated by Illinois hospitals," the union wrote in a July 23 letter to the IHA. "We should not live in poverty."

In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, the IHA said Illinois hospitals employ about 266,000 people generating about 466,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributing more than $95 billion to the state's economy each year.

The association also said hospitals comply with Chicago's minimum wage ordinance. Minimum wage in the city climbed from $11 to $12 in June. The minimum wage in Cook County also climbed from $10 to $11 that month.

 

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