UofC Medical Center nurses set date for 1-day strike, citing safety and patient care concerns

Nurses conduct informational picketing earlier this year outside the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Nurses announced a one-day strike Sept. 20 at the University of Chicago Medical Center. | Provided photo

Registered nurses at the medical center will strike Sept. 20.

Union nurses at University of Chicago Medical Center have set a date for a one-day strike, citing their concerns over safety and patient care due to a shortage of nurses.

The strike, which was overwhelmingly authorized last month by members of National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, was designed to provide “maximum impact on the hospital but minimal impact on patients,” Marti Smith, the union’s midwest director, told the Sun-Times.

Registered nurses will strike Sept. 20 to call attention to the “chronic problem of short staffing” of nurses at the medical center, the union said in a statement Tuesday.

Smith said the hospital can rely on administrative staff during the strike and won’t need to call in replacements.

The nurses are in contract negotiations with the medical center after their last one expired in April.

In a statement, the university’s medical center said it was “disappointed” by the nurses’ decision to strike and said the medical center’s bargaining team had been working hard to avoid one.

“From the start, the Medical Center has sought dialogue and has listened to our nurses’ concerns, making a number of proposals to address them,” the statement read.

The staffing shortage results in nurses who are forced to work overtime after they have completed 12-hour shifts and the medical center was demanding nurses work outside their field of expertise, putting patient safety at risk, the union said.

The union said the medical center rejected their latest proposal and offered no counterproposal.

The medical center said there were two more bargaining sessions scheduled for Sept. 25 and 26 when the nurses decided to strike.

“Rather than meeting us halfway, NNOC/NNU ended negotiations with no movement on its end and called a strike,” a spokeswoman for the medical center said. “As always, the needs of our patients, their families and the community must come first, and we remain committed to providing them with the excellent care they need and deserve. We will be fully prepared and equipped to serve patients without interruption during the strike.”

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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