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UChicago nurses vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike  

University of Chicago Medical Center RNs. Credit: National Nurses United

Registered nurses at UChicago Medicine voted 97 percent in favor of authorizing their nurse bargaining committee to call a strike if management does not address chronic staffing concerns, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) late Tuesday evening. Nurses say UChicago’s staffing crisis leads to patient safety issues and difficulties in recruitment and retention of experienced nurses.

“No nurse wants to go out on strike, but we will do whatever it takes to ensure we have the resources we need to provide our patients the highest quality of care,” said Scott Mechanic, a registered nurse in UChicago’s emergency room. “We are patient advocates and as such, we demand a strong contract that allows us to retain and recruit experienced nurses. The nurses have spoken with one voice, they are ready to strike if management refuses to address our concerns.”

Nurses say the failure to retain and recruit experienced nurses is eroding patient care. Experienced nurses are critical resources at the bedside and in mentoring new nurses. From January 2020 through November 2023, UChicago saw 40 percent of its nurses leave the system.   

Today’s strike authorization vote allows the bargaining committee to call a one-day strike at any time. If the nurses do decide to strike, they would give UChicago a 10-day notice before walking out. 

UChicago nurses have been in contract negotiations with the hospital since September 2023. Their contract expired in November 2023. 

NNU represents 2,800 nurses at UChicago Medicine.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.

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