University of Chicago Medical Center Prepares For Possible Nurses' Strike

Jennifer Keiper
September 17, 2019 - 8:24 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The University of Chicago Medical Center is getting ready for a possible one-day nurses strike on Friday.

The University of Chicago Medical Center and some 2,200 staff have been, for a few months now, trying to come up with a new contract agreement. 

Talisa Hardin of National Nurses United, told CBS 2, their major concern is the average medical caregiver workload.

“This is about safety. This is about compassion. This is about taking care of our patients,” Hardin said.

Hardin said they have been without a contract since April. 

A spokeswoman said since January 2017, workers have filed 1,700 reports of unsafe conditions to management.

“The medical center refuses to adequately staff us, and it makes me very sad,” Hardin said.

With the one-day strike looming, the University of Chicago Medical Center said it has been adjusting operations, including transferring some current patients, including children in the ICU, to other hospitals.

“Because of the Union’s actions, [we have> moved thoughtfully and quickly to adjust our operations in anticipation of a possible strike Friday," a statement read.

According to CBS 2, a nurse said the pediatric intensive care unit at U of C is empty as a result. The nurse added that beginning this past Saturday, 28 patients from babies to the age of 18 were taken to Rush University Medical Center, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, St. Anthony Hospital, and Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“We thought that patient care was the priority, and to us, it doesn’t really feel like that – moving out patients instead of working with us,” Hardin said. “I’m sure the patients aren’t happy about that either, and so hopefully, we can come to a compromise and stop this.”

When asked if she thought moving patients jeopardized patient care, Hardin said, “I do.”

Word is the two sides are still talking, which means their is a chance the strike could be averted.