Bargaining Update #20

Dear Nursing Colleagues:

The NNU has notified their membership that they will be conducting a strike authorization vote on Feb. 20. I wanted to take this time to write to UCMC’s nursing community ahead of the vote to make sure you understand what this vote is — and just as importantly, what it isn’t. I also want to reinforce our commitment to continuing to bargain to avoid a strike entirely.

A strike authorization vote is a standard procedural step by the NNU. While we can’t speculate on the vote’s outcome, it’s important that you know a strike authorization is NOT the same thing as calling for a strike at UCMC. A strike authorization vote, which must receive a majority of votes cast by members, grants union leadership the power to call a strike until a contract agreement has been reached.

 If a strike is eventually called by the union, they are legally required to provide UCMC with a 10-day notice.

We have two more bargaining sessions planned with the NNU for February and have asked the NNU to schedule dates in the remainder of February and throughout March. Both sides have already made substantial progress throughout this negotiation, and it is our hope we can continue this positive momentum at the table to avoid a strike.

Let me be clear: We do not want a strike. But our organization is prepared for one. Simply put, our healthcare mission and our patients must come first. As nurses, you know as well as I do that UCMC provides essential and specialized medical care for the South Side and to the broader Chicago region. We have an obligation to our patients and community to fulfill this core role, which is why we have comprehensive plans in place to ensure we’re able to provide uninterrupted safe care for our patients during all types of emergencies, including a strike.

Regardless of the vote’s outcome, I want to assure you that UCMC will continue to bargain in good faith with the NNU — work that can only be accomplished at the bargaining table. We want to reach a compromise agreement. But we also need to balance our resources so we can meet the needs of our patients and community.

As always, we will continue to provide you with updates as developments arise and I look forward to speaking with many of you during our upcoming town halls on Feb. 19 at 4pm and Feb. 20 at 8am.

Emily Chase, PhD, RN, NE-BC, FACHE
Senior Vice-President, Patient Care Services, Chief Nursing Officer
University of Chicago Medical Center