Chicago—University of Illinois Medical Center nurses represented by the Illinois Nurses Association voted 490 to 68 to ratify a new three-year contract with the hospital. The contract covers more than 1,000 nurses at the Chicago hospital and is effective immediately.
Nurses will receive raises of up to 17.85% over the three year agreement. In addition, nurses have the potential to receive bonuses of $1000 in the second and third year of the contract.
According to INA Labor Attorney Alice J. Johnson, the key negotiating point the sides were able to overcome involved charge nurses not taking patients. The change improves staffing and will require the hospital to hire the equivalent of 14 full-time nurses in order to implement the change. INA was able to successfully argue for many units that charge nurses should not be required to carry their own patient assignment, which then allows the entire unit to provide better patient care. Charge nurses typically manage the work flow on a unit, trouble shoot problems and provide leadership to nurses and otherstaff..
“Its important for overall patient care that charge nurses be allowed to oversee the entire unit and trouble shoot, make staffing assignments and manage the work flow in the unit,” Johnson said. “In this regard, the contract will benefit overall patient care at the hospital.”
In late December, the nurses overwhelmingly rejected the medical center management’s last, best, and final offer and authorized its bargaining team to call a strike, should it become necessary. The contract rejection in late December forced the nurses and hospital management back to the negotiating table and the two parties were able to hammer out an agreement after the new year.
“The negotiating team did a great job leading the charge for better staffing, a streamlined grievance procedure and vacation availability. In addition to these improvements they lead the membership in the fight against some major takeaways,” said INA Labor Attorney Alice J. Johnson.
The Illinois Nurses Association is the pre-eminent voice for nurses in the state of Illinois. With over 100 years of exemplary service to our constituent members, the organization has consistently strived to address issues concerning nurses. The purpose of the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), the organization of registered professional nurses, is to:
- Improve health standards and influence the delivery of quality health care services for all people,
- Foster high standards for nursing practice,
- Stimulate and promote the professional development of nurses and advance their economic and general welfare.
- Empower nurses and influence health policy through political action.
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