On Sept. 30, the Illinois Nurses Association (INA)which represents 30 registered nurses who work at Howard Brown Healthreached a tentative agreement with the North Side clinic, averting a series of strikes slated to begin Monday, Oct. 3, a press release noted.
The nurses will meet over the weekend to ratify the contract.
"After nearly four months of negotiations, our nurses have won a monumental second contract. They secured unprecedented staffing ratio language and wages and retention bonuses that acknowledge the hard and irreplaceable work that our Registered Nurses do," according to a message from the nurses on the Howard Brown negotiation committee.
The tentative agreement includes, among other things:
An immediate 5.5% pay increase (or higher based on where steps happen to fall) for first year of the contract while current registered nurses (RNs) get an immediate $1,500 retention bonus, with $1,500 in August 2023 and $1,500 in August 2024;
Specific site-based staffing minimums, general primary care staffing of 1 FTE (full-time equivalent) RN to two primary-care providers;
The grant of a five-minute grace period, with Howard Brown prohibited from applying its policy in manner that could be deem discriminatory;
An option for call-center RNs to work remotely;
Nurses working a Saturday shift receiving eight hours of pay;
The implementation of trauma-informed violence training at least annually; also, no RN will be required to be alone with a patient who is "under contract" or has restrictions/limitations placed on care due to threatening or violent behavior, or who (in the RN's professional judgment) represents a risk to the RN's personal safety
The presence of N95s on site; and
The rule that schedules, once posted, can only be changed by written mutual agreement, with all nurses having the option of self-scheduling.
The 30 nurses had planned a series of strikes taking place at various locations throughout the city on Oct. 3-8. Howard Brown had issued a statement that, after two months, it was continuing to bargain with the nurses' union.
INA currently represents more than 4,000 nurses and healthcare workers in the private and public sector in Illinois.
Earlier Windy City Times coverage at www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Howard-Brown-Health-nurses-planning-series-of-strikes/74073.html .