More than 800 nurses at the University of Illinois Hospital (UIH) in Chicago went on strike Saturday morning after contract negotiations over the nurse-to-patient relationship collapsed.
About 1,400 nurses were originally supposed to quit the job, but a judge issued a restraining order on Friday Prevention of the strike of selected intensive care workers.
The hospital announced “Staff interruptions” Saturday provided patients with information on how the seven-day strike could affect their appointments.
The Illinois Nurses Association (INA), which represents hundreds of UIH nurses working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, is urging the hospital to limit the number of patients a single nurse treats at the same time. However, the hospital has argued that a set nurse-to-patient ratio doesn̵
The nurses were unable to reach an agreement on patient limits during 20 rounds of negotiations, as the three-year contract between the INA and the hospital system expired on August 24, but was extended to September 7.
“Daycare operators have ratios, right. You can’t have more than eight or nine babies. Kennels have ratios,” said Doris Carroll, president of the INA and nurse for the University of Illinois Health a local ABC partner. “Why can’t hospitals have relationships?”
Establishing a patient relationship would require the hospital to hire more nurses, which Carroll said would benefit patients over the long term.
“We have two decades of research to support adequate bedside nurses preventing falls, infections and deaths in a hospital, mind you,” said Carroll.