Nurse strike Illinois: Over 500 nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph Hospital in Joliet go on-2-day strike


JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) — More than 500 nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph in Joliet went on strike Tuesday alleging unfair labor practices.

This strike will last just two days and comes amid ongoing contract negotiations.

Ascension Saint Joseph says it’s prepared to stay open during the strike.

Administrators also called the strike “unfortunate,” saying they’re disappointed nurses have chosen to strike since negotiations are ongoing.

This is the second strike by the nurses, whose contract expired in July.

The nurses’ contract expired in July. They have been negotiating a new contract since May and previously called a two-day strike in August over the hospital’s use of agency nurses.

After the two-day strike in August, nurses were locked out for an additional two days as the hospital contracted with a company to bring in substitute nurses. That will occur again with the current strike, with nurses not expected to be able to return until Saturday morning.

Please see below for a statement you can attribute to an Ascension spokesperson:

An Ascension spokesperson released a statement saying, “We are disappointed Illinois Nurses Association (INA) has made the decision to proceed with its second two-day strike in three months, especially given both bargaining teams have been engaging in good faith bargaining through the formal mediation process with a federal mediator.

“Safe, high-quality patient care remains our top priority, and Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet is well prepared to remain open and care for our patients during this unfortunate short-term strike.

“Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet is following national best practice for implementing a strike contingency plan that is compliant with The Joint Commission, OSHA, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In order to fulfill our commitment to uninterrupted quality care for our patients, we have contracted with a staffing agency that specializes in work stoppage events and will provide us access to a full complement of highly skilled and credentialed registered nurses.

“Regardless of the planned duration of the strike, we are contractually required to commit to a minimum of four days of work for any registered nursing staff replaced, starting from the first day of a strike. Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet represented registered nurses will be temporarily replaced starting the first day of the strike on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, and will be able to return to their scheduled shifts beginning the morning of Saturday, November 25, 2023, as soon as our replacement agency contractual obligation is fulfilled. This decision is guided by our commitment to safe, compassionate care-we must make every provision for ensuring the health and safety of our patients, providers and associates during the strike.

“Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet will continue to bargain in good faith and is committed to not canceling any scheduled bargaining sessions. In addition, we urge INA to work through the mediator at any time to pass proposals as we continue to focus on reaching agreement on a new contract for our registered nurses.”

Post source: Abc7chicago

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