Update on NNOC/NNU Negotiations
As UCMC prepares to care for our patients during the NNOC/NNU’s planned five-day strike, I wanted to update you on our efforts to resume negotiations and avoid the strike.
Here are the facts:
Only the NNOC/NNU union leadership has the power to call off the strike at this point.
• The union leaders called the strike at UCMC on Friday, September 20, to coincide with strikes called for the same day at 12 hospitals in California, Arizona and Florida — a clear sign that our nurses and our patients are being used as pawns to advance the NNOC/NNU’s national agenda.
• As a reminder, the union leadership called the strike here even though UCMC had just made its fourth economic contract proposal, and both sides already had agreed to eight more bargaining sessions over four consecutive weeks from September 25 through October 16.
• After calling the strike, the union leadership only offered 11th-hour bargaining sessions on September 18 and 19 – the two days before the strike, a time when UCMC leaders must be focused on our patients’ continuity of care.
• Rather than waiting until the eve of the strike, UCMC proposed resuming talks this Friday and continuing into this weekend if there is progress.
• But the union leaders and union bargaining team members who called the strike refused to cancel their plans to attend a union-organizing conference in San Francisco on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When UCMC pressed, the union leaders agreed to meet via Skype teleconferencing on Friday so they could spend the rest of Friday and the weekend at the conference in California.
• We plan to hold that remote bargaining session tomorrow and will evaluate setting additional talks once the union leaders return from California next week.
I know many nurses have asked what can be done to stop the strike.
Let me reiterate: This strike was called by the NNOC/NNU leadership and it can only be called off by union leaders.
I’d urge you to ask yourselves:
• Are union leaders representing the best interests of your patients, your families and you?
• Was the rush to call this strike at UCMC about representing your interests — or is it about threatening patients by calling strikes on the same day at 12 other hospitals in California, Arizona and Florida?
• Is it irresponsible to call a strike in Chicago and then leave for a union conference in San Francisco?
• Is walking out on your patients what you want your professional practice of nursing to be known for?
As a dedicated nurse and nursing leader, I call on each and every one of you to reflect on your own personal beliefs, and on your own commitment to our patients and to our profession.
If you conclude a strike isn’t in the best interests of your patients, your family or your professional career as a dedicated clinician, I’d urge you to share your concerns with your peers and union leaders.
Everyone has the right to advocate for their patients and be heard. But only union leaders can stop this strike.