NNOC/NNU Gives Strike Notice
As you know by now, National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) has called for a one-day strike beginning at 7 a.m. on September 20. Unfortunately, NNOC/NNU is forcing NNU-represented nurses to stop working and walk out on patients despite the University of Chicago Medical Center’s (UCMC’s) good-faith efforts and compromises put forward at the bargaining table.
UCMC did not want a strike and has done everything it could to avoid one. It has listened to concerns and made numerous proposals to address them. The Union claims it wants a contract, but the events of the last few months raise questions. Among them:
- Why is NNOC/NNU putting you on strike and your patients in the middle with progress still being made at the table and increases in UCMC’s offer as recently as Friday?
- Why is NNOC/NNU putting you on strike before eight scheduled bargaining dates on September 25, 26 and 30 and October 1, 10, 11, 15 and 16?
- Why is your bargaining team leaving town for a September 12-15 Union-sponsored “Global Nurses Solidarity Assembly” in San Francisco after serving a strike notice that will put you out of work?
- UCMC made significant movement on wage and benefit issues Friday (increasing wage offers, removing spousal surcharge proposals, guaranteed UCMC payment of 75% or more of health care premiums for all full-time nurses) to try to jumpstart negotiations. It asked NNOC/NNU to meet us halfway. Instead, NNOC/NNU ended negotiations with no movement, no response, and no new proposals.
The Union says this strike is for you and for patients. But the Union has had little time for talking all summer, focusing its efforts on strikes, picketing, press events, and walkouts.
At this juncture, the needs of our patients, their families and the community must come first. Because of the NNOC/NNU’s actions, the Medical Center will manage the Union’s strike pursuant to our business continuity and emergency management plan and stand up our Hospital Incident Command System (HICS), which helps U.S. hospitals manage any event that may disrupt normal hospital operations. This will set up the Medical Center to be fully prepared and equipped to continue serving patients without interruption during the duration of the strike.
It is important for you to understand that the Union chose to call this strike. UCMC from the start sought dialogue that could have avoided it.
As I’ve said many times in the past, I’m proud of the critical role our nurses have played in advancing the professional practice of nursing here at UCMC. It is unfortunate that the Union would compromise your professionalism and commitment to patients.
While your colleagues across the Medical Center prepare for the walkout, I encourage you to take time to visit ucmcnurses.org to view UCMC’s comprehensive non-economic bargaining proposals and the most recent (4th) economic offer. While there is a lot of information there, I think you will see our good-faith effort to negotiate a fair and equitable contract that will support our institution’s ongoing mission to serve as a world-class health provider for patients and the community and as a great place to work for you and your UCMC colleagues.
I will continue to have more information about UCMC’s strike planning for you in the next few days.
I understand that this will be a challenging time, but I am confident that everyone will remain focused on our patients and their needs and will continue to support one another. Thank you for everything you do to serve our patients and the community. We look forward to having nurses back after the strike ends.