The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Chicago:
Hospital Strike at UIC

Sep 28, 2020

Nurses and staff at the University of Illinois hospital in Chicago struck for a week, demanding better staffing, more PPE and better pay. More than 5,000 were on strike, including 800 nurses represented by the Illinois Nurses Association, and over 4,000 clerical, technical and building maintenance workers represented by SEIU Local 73.

UI Hospital nurses struck after hospital management’s lack of response to the pandemic in spring. The hospital had been slow to make PPE available. As a result, over two hundred nurses caught Covid-19 and two veteran nurses died.

Nurses also demanded increased staffing to lower the number of patients under the care of each nurse.

The University of Illinois has access to lots of money—anyone who takes a stroll down the well-groomed quads at the college and hospital campuses can see that. Still, it took a determined strike to get the administration to cough up any additional resources. The tentative agreement includes the hiring of 160 more nurses. And SEIU workers will receive raises of 1 or 2% a year, and a guarantee to be paid over Chicago’s minimum of $15 an hour.