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University of Illinois Hospital nurses set strike date

A key issue for the nurses: setting a limit on the number of patients assigned to each nurse.

University of Illinois Hospital
University of Illinois Hospital
University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System

Nurses at the University of Illinois Hospital announced Wednesday they plan to go on strike Sept. 12.

“Barring a breakthrough in negotiations between nurses and the University of Illinois Hospital, more than 1,300 nurses will begin a seven-day strike at 7 a.m. on Saturday, September 12th,” according to the Illinois Nurses Association, which represents the nurses.

News of the exact time of the strike comes nearly two weeks after 995 nurses voted in favor of striking if the hospital doesn’t agree to limits on the number of patients under the care of each nurse and hiring more nurses. The nurses’ three-year contract was set to expire Aug. 24 but was extended into September.

“Negotiations began earlier this summer but after 19 negotiating sessions, the hospital refuses 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,’” Doris Carroll said in a statement Wednesday. Carroll leads the INA and is a University of Illinois Hospital nurse.

Hospital CEO Michael Zenn said Wednesday he was “disappointed” to learn of the development.

“We are hopeful that both parties will reach an agreement that reflects our commitment to our nurses while being fiscally sustainable for the hospital,” he said in a statement.

“We will do everything within our power to avert a strike. ... Should a work stoppage occur, however, we are prepared to continue safe patient care and ongoing operations.”