Update on This Week’s CBA Negotiations

Update on This Week’s CBA Negotiations

I want to start by thanking all of you for your continued dedication to our patients and excellence in patient outcomes despite working without a contract since April, when the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired.

As you know, the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) has been engaged over the last several months in bargaining sessions with National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) to produce a new contract that is fair and equitable for you and your colleagues and our patients. The UCMC team has been focused on reaching agreement on a new contract that recognizes the contributions and talents of each and every one of you.

Throughout this process, you’ve heard a lot from me on a variety of topics, from staffing and compensation to workplace safety and professional development. That is because I and the entire leadership team recognize that these issues are critical to you and our ability to provide the best possible care to our patients.  I want you to know how seriously we take each one — and how important it is to me that you have all the facts as we continue CBA negotiations.

UCMC made a counterproposal to the Union regarding staffing today. UCMC takes its commitment to staffing seriously, and as those of you who have worked at other hospitals know, we are a staffing leader in Chicago and the Midwest.  We rejected NNOC/NNU’s core proposals that the Medical Center move to inflexible California-style ratios.  We see our patients as people and believe in evaluating their acuity and needs on an individual basis, not based on predetermined, fixed ratios that consume resources even when patients do not need them.

As you saw this morning, we shared graphic summaries demonstrating how our staffing outpaces the fixed ratios the NNOC/NNU is proposing. Many nurses have asked how their units stack up.  You can review how individual units perform compared to the proposed mandatory ratios on ucmcnurses.org.

In assessing the data, it’s clear that the model we have today works. Our ability to rely on our collective professional judgment delivers better average staffing than those proposed by NNOC/NNU. We are proud of this fact because our patients are more than a simple statistic. Indeed, the data represent your lifesaving presence at bedsides with your patients, the effectiveness of the staffing models we have developed, and the clinical judgment of nurses at all levels to do what’s best for every patient, every time.

The Medical Center also provided the Union a comprehensive set of proposals for newly represented nurses. While some of the current CBA provisions make sense, others do not align with our current work practices and patient needs.

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 may also check ucmcnurses.org for regular updates.

I appreciate everything you do for our patients and community as well as your colleagues across the Medical Center. For that and more, I thank you.