University of Chicago transfers patients in preparation for strike

University of Chicago Medical Center is moving some patients to other hospitals as it prepares for about 2,200 nurses to go on strike next week, according to the Chicago Tribune, citing information from medical center leaders.

The medical center will transfer about 50 babies and 20 children in its neonatal and pediatric intensive care units to other facilities, Emily Chase, vice president of the university's Comer Children's Hospital, told the newspaper. Transfer plans also include moving 10 high-risk pregnant women.

Medical center leaders told the Tribune that organ transplants may also stop in the event of a strike, and they have delayed some elective surgeries.

The nurses are scheduled to strike Nov. 26, two days before Thanksgiving. The nurses also walked off the job Sept. 20 in a strike organized by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United. They were allowed to return to work Sept. 25, after the medical center said it fulfilled its contract with temporary nurses to replace the striking ones for five days.

When nurses went on strike in September, the medical center diverted ambulances with emergency and trauma patients to other hospitals, according to the Tribune. It has not decided whether it will do that again.

The medical center is looking to hire about 900 replacement nurses for the second strike, although that may be challenging given the strike's timing and hiring during the holidays, University of Chicago Medical Center President Sharon O'Keefe told the newspaper.

Negotiations began earlier this year. Medical center leaders say incentive pay — and whether newly hired nurses should receive it — is a sticking point in negotiations, according to the Tribune.  The union has continued to express concerns about staffing levels.

The nurses said they plan to strike unless an agreement is reached.

 

More articles on human resources:
5 hospital strike updates
2,200 University of Chicago nurses schedule second strike
Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians prepare for 5-day walkout 

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