U of I Hospital nurses’ strike continues, with SEIU Local 73 workers join picket lines

Monday, September 14, 2020
By  Alexis McAdams, abc 7 Chicago

University of Illinois Hospital nurses on strike are getting a show of solidarity on Monday as they are joined by hundreds of SEIU-73 members.

The nurses walked off the job over the weekend. The Illinois Nurses Association Union is demanding a comprehensive contract that includes better staffing levels, higher pay, and more personal protective equipment. Leaders say it is the first strike for the union at UIC Medical Center in more than four decades.

“We are warriors in this fight,” said Doris Carrol, President of the Illinois Nurses Association. “During the pandemic, our hospital called us heroes and now they are treating us like zeros.”

Also, the union says there needs to be a set limit on how many patients a single nurse is treating at any one time, while the hospital believes a set nurse to patient ratios do not work.

“In an ICU – an ICU nurse should have no more than two patients,” Carrol said. “However, if a patient comes in and needs one to one care then the nurses will switch assignments.”

In a statement, Michael Zenn, CEO of University of Illinois Hospital, said he “values and respects” these nurses’ work but argues ratios “…ignore fair workload distribution among peers on a shift-to-shift basis. Nurse staffing ratios also result in longer Emergency Department (ED) wait times, increased ambulance diversion hours, reduced patient services and higher operating costs.”

Around 1,300 nurses originally planned to walk off the job, but a judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday limiting that number after the hospital filed a lawsuit citing patient safety concerns.

Read the full story from abc 7 Chicago

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