This Week’s CBA Negotiations

This Week’s CBA Negotiations

After a bit of a break, the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) and National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) are returning to the table today to negotiate terms for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for you and your colleagues. Among the topics that remain open are staffing and compensation.

You’ve heard a lot from me on staffing. That’s because it’s an important issue — one that is essential to patient safety and your satisfaction. I cannot stress enough how the model we have developed together is having real results by driving a culture of patient safety and empowering our teams to adjust and address patient acuity and other situation-specific needs in real time.

The fact is that staffing on our units outpaces the inflexible ratios that NNOC/NNU advocates. The data back that up. So you can see for yourself, attached are two graphic summaries, one from Adult ICU and the other from Med/Surg, that compare UCMC’s staffing, based on real data, to the inflexible ratios that NNOC/NNU continues to push.

The best staffing solutions not only recognize your experience and the wide scope of nursing practice, but also empower our nurses to lead. Our current approach — developed here at our organization by you, your colleagues and leadership — has encouraged collaboration, created opportunities for innovation and professional development, and allowed us to use resources efficiently and effectively to provide quality care to our patients and the community. This model reflects the clinical judgment of nurses at all levels.

Our compensation conversations start from this foundational belief: We provide compensation and benefits that reward performance, support professional growth and attract high-performing professionals like you to join our team. We are proud that the average hourly rate for UCMC nurses under the current CBA is over $47 per hour. This is $11 more per hour than the average pay rate for acute-care hospital nurses in the Chicago area. Our market leadership in compensation and benefits reflects your expertise and the quality of care provided here at UCMC, and we are committed to growing your base rate and keeping your pay at the top of the Chicago market so that we can retain and attract professionals like you.

I realize you’ve been working without a contract for months now. But please know that negotiations are a long and careful process involving important and complex subjects, and I want you to have straightforward facts. As we’ve said throughout, our team is committed to constructive, respectful discussions that will ultimately yield a fair result for both sides. Everyone at UCMC wants to reach a new CBA that allows us to continue delivering the high-quality, compassionate and affordable care in a safe environment that our patients expect and deserve.

We look forward to more conversations about how we can best achieve our mutual goals, and we will continue to update you on the facts about negotiations throughout this process. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your unit manager with any questions you might have, and you can also check for regular updates.

Thank you for everything you do for our patients, one another and all members of our care teams.