CHICAGO — University of Illinois at Chicago nurses on Saturday began a 7-day strike in protest of what they say are unfair labor practices. News outlets report the nurses are asking for better protective equipment and a smaller patient-to-nurse ratio.
On Friday, CBS Chicago reported a Cook County judge had issued a restraining order preventing some critical care nurses from joining the strike. Several nurses told the publication they would strike anyway.
The Chicago Sun Times reported more than 800 nurses walked off the job on Saturday. The strike came after contract negotiations between the hospital and the Illinois Nurses Association stalled.
Illinois Nurses Association president Doris Carroll told Becker’s Hospital Review that despite numerous negotiation sessions, the hospital had refused to “engage in a substantive discussion about achieving safe staffing by setting a limit on the number of patients that can be assigned to each nurse, a policy also known as ‘safe patient limits.”
Hospital CEO Michael Zenn said in a statement that the hospital does not support staffing ratios but has provided personal protective equipment and implemented recommendations that exceed what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend for health care workers
“We are hopeful that both parties will reach a fair and equitable new contract that continues our tradition of generous wages and fair working conditions for our valuable nursing colleagues, while being fiscally sustainable for the Hospital,” the statement reads.
The Chicago Sun Times reports some 300 nurses were seen gathered in the rain near the hospital’s emergency room bearing signs emblazoned with phrases like “Safety in Numbers” and “Protect our Patients.”