U of Chicago nurses return to work, more negotiations scheduled

Nurses at the University of Chicago Medical Center returned to work at 7 a.m. Sept. 25 after their strike, and more negotiations are scheduled, according to the Chicago Tribune

About 2,200 nurses walked off the job Sept. 20 in a strike organized by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United after negotiations broke down late Sept. 18.

University of Chicago Medicine said in a news release that nurses would be allowed to return to work at 7 a.m. Sept. 25, per contracts the medical center made with temporary nurses hired to replace striking ones for five days.

Nurses and medical center have not resolved issues that resulted in the strike, and there is the possibility the union could schedule another walkout, the Tribune reported, noting that another strike would require notifying the hospital at least 10 days beforehand.

Marti Smith, Midwest director of the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, told the newspaper: "The goal is not to strike. The goal is to have a contract. Hopefully we'll get there. We're going to bargain until we don't feel like we’re making any progress anymore, and then we'll step back and make a decision."

The medical center told the Tribune that incentive pay remains a sticking point in negotiations. However, the union told the newspaper that unsafe staffing and overtime issues at the 618-bed academic medical center were a problem as well.

The hospital countered the union's claims and reiterated its commitment to negotiations.

"As our union-represented nurses return to work and we head back to the bargaining table, we're keeping our focus on where it should be: our patients," said Debi Albert, MSN, RN, CNO and senior vice president for patient care services. "Our facilities are safe, our teams provide some of the best medical care in the country, and our nurses are among the very highest paid in the market. Exceptional patient care was, is and always will be our mission. That's what it was before this walkout and that's what it will be after it’s done."

The medical center said that adult and pediatric emergency departments will no longer be on ambulance bypass, and it's fully resuming level 1 trauma services, receiving transfers from community hospitals and reopening units closed during the strike.

Negotiations are slated to resume Sept. 30.

Updates on bargaining are available here.

 

More articles on human resources:

DC region Kaiser workers support nationwide strike
St. Luke's nurses call off strike
Tenet hospitals in 3 states hit with nurses' strike: 5 things to know

 

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