UIC nurses strike 2020: Illinois Nurses Association, UI Health announce tentative deal

Potential 4-year deal ends 7-day University of Illinois nurses strike amid Chicago coronavirus pandemic
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Nurses Association has announced a tentative contract deal with UI Health.

This affects 1,400 nurses. They ended a seven-day strike Saturday without a new contract.

The nurses are satisfied that hospital management listened to their concerns about safe staffing and have committed to hiring 160 full-time nurses over the coming year, a spokesman for INA said. The hospital improved on wages and several other safety issues, he said.

RELATED: Nurses strike enters 2nd day after more than 800 walk off job at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago
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More than 800 nurses at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago strike Saturday morning after contract negotiations broke down over nurse-to-patient ratios.



Some highlights of the agreement include a guaranteed rolling-90-day supply of personal protective equipment, the redesign of the hospital's airflow system and hazard pay for work during pandemics.

"We are gratified to achieve this hard-fought victory after months of negotiations-this represents a vast improvement compared to where we were before the strike and we are happy to see that the hospital recognized the importance of safe staffing," said INA President Doris Carroll, RN. "The nurses were unified and strong and it paid off in what we think is a fair contract."

They must now vote on the new four-year agreement next week.

Read the full statement from University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics CEO Michael Zenn:

"UI Health and the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) have reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a four-year contract (2020-2024). The INA represents more than 1,400 nurses at UI Health.

"We are very pleased that we have been able to come to a tentative agreement and we are grateful that our nurses chose to return to work on September 19, following a seven-day strike. This is in the best interest of our patients and our UI Health family.

"The tentative agreement was reached on Wednesday, September 23, following less than four months of negotiations and 29 sessions of collective bargaining.

"Details of the agreement, which includes wage increases that will keep UI Health nurses in the top 10% nationally and a commitment to a significant number of new nursing hires, will be shared with the nursing membership at ratification voting meetings to be conducted by the union. Pending ratification, specific contract terms will be available for public release.

"We look forward to continuing to work together with our nurses to ensure our patients' continued care and safety."


Service Employees International Union Local 73 also reached an agreement Thursday, ending a 10-day strike at the University of Illinois-Chicago, after reaching tentative agreements that provide workers with COVID-19 protections and pay increases, the union said. The agreements are for multi-year contracts for four bargaining units represented by SEIU Local 73 at the Chicago, Rockford and Peoria campuses, including building services workers, technicians, clerical positions and professionals, according to the union.
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