UIH nurses prepare to strike Saturday, calling for fewer patients per nurse

Nurses stapled protest signs and painted banners outside the University of Illinois Hospital Friday afternoon. 

The Union representing 1400 nurses is preparing to strike.

“If we do not have a deal by tomorrow, we’re walking at 7 a.m. Our members are ready to do that,” said Dulce Leyva of the Illinois Nurses Association. 

A Cook County judge dealt the hospital a partial victory, granting a temporary restraining order which will force about 500 critical care nurses to go to work even if there is a strike. 

The nurses say there are two main problems they are looking to solve.

They want better protection against COVID-19 and fewer patients per nurse. 

“Thirty percent of respiratory got sick. Fifteen to 20 percent initially got sick in my unit,” said Jeanette Alvarez-Basel, a critical care nurse.

In a statement, a hospital spokesperson says:

“UI Health will do everything reasonably within our power to avert a strike and we are prepared to continue bargaining as long as it takes to reach a successful agreement.”

In addition, the SEIU union is threatening to strike all 4000 of its hospital employees on Monday. 

Negotiations are continuing on that contract as well.