Judge says nurses at U. of I. Hospital can strike for one day Tuesday

SHARE Judge says nurses at U. of I. Hospital can strike for one day Tuesday

Roughly 1,000 nurses at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago are allowed to take part in a one-day strike Tuesday, a Cook County court has ruled.

The Board of Trustees of the U. of I. filed for an injunction Wednesday against the Illinois Nurses Association, asking a judge that nine critical departments remain staffed during a strike.

The judge ruled Thursday that the majority of nurses in the collective bargaining unit represented by the INA are authorized to go on strike.

“This is a victory for our nurses and for all employees who believe they have the legal right to strike as a way to demonstrate to their employer that their working conditions are not conducive to employment,” said Alice J. Johnson, executive director of the INA.

The union plans a one-day strike for Tuesday, claiming proposals made by hospital management would create unfair and unsafe working conditions.

“The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is committed to providing high quality clinical care to our patients,” CEO Avit Ghosh said in a statement. ”We are disappointed that despite progress in the discussions the Illinois Nurses Association leadership intends a one-day strike on Oct. 21.”

About 1,000 of the 1,100 nurses represented in the collective bargaining unit will be authorized to strike, said Chris Martin, a spokesman for the INA.

But the judge approved a motion, filed by the hospital, that will prohibit some nurses who treat critical care patients from striking.

Nine departments must remain fully staffed during the strike, including: bone marrow transplant unit, emergency department, labor and delivery unit, medical ICU/open heart, neosurgical ICU, neonatal ICU, organ transplant/surgical ICU, pediatric ICU and oncology.

“While we hope a strike will not occur, we have a responsibility to ensure our patients’ continued care and safety,” Ghosh said.

Officials from the hospital and union will next meet for a mediation session Monday.

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