Members of Howard Brown Health's nursing staff and officials from the Illinois Nursing Association ( INA ) were among those on hand Sept. 28 to announce that the local healthcare organization has voluntarily recognized its nurses' right to organize.
The announcement was made at press conference in front of Howard Brown Health's main facility at 4025 N. Sheridan Road. Key concerns for staff, according to an INA press release, are fair scheduling, protection from arbitrary disciple and termination and speaking out on issues regarding patient care.
With the go-ahead now given by management, both sides head for the bargaining table. Katie Luedecke, RN, of Howard Brown Health said that the nurses hoped to have a contract in place in about 60 days, adding that, "We do intend to bargain in good faith with Howard Brown."
Despite Howard Brown Health's willingness to bargain, Leudecke did decry the clinic's hiring of New York City-based Jackson Lewis, which she called a "notorious, union-busting law firm," to conduct its negotiations. Howard Brown Health officials on hand at the announcement had no comment about Jackson Lewis' retention.
Also speaking at the press conference were INA Executive Director Alice Johnson; Johannes Mosquera, RN, of Howard Brown Health; and Rev. Jason Lydon, who said he was there on behalf of concerned religious leaders and community members.
"We will be watching what is going on with these negotiations and processes," Lydon said.
In a statement, Howard Brown Health CEO and president David Ernesto Munar said, "Today's announcement aligns with Howard Brown Health's values, which include respecting and listening to our employees. The high-quality and compassionate care provided by Howard Brown is made possible because of our employees' considerable skills and dedication to public health and outstanding patient care. Howard Brown is a nonprofit, community-based organization committed to serving patients, including many with financial challenges, with excellent healthcare. Equally important to our organization is a commitment to our employees to have choice and a quality workplace. Values such as diversity, social justice, equity, inclusion, empathy, and human rights reflect our work and missionto serve as a catalyst for better health and wellness among LGBTQ people and our allies."