Illinois Nursing Association (INA) filed an intent-to-strike notice against the Howard Brown Health medical organization on Dec. 23, after negotiations between the two sides have further strained in recent months.
The strike would commence on Jan. 3 and last through the end of the day on Jan. 5, according to an INA press release.
"This will bring more than 440 workers onto picket lines across the city of Chicago to protest Unfair Labor Practices challenging management's 19 different violations of the NLRA [National Labor Relations Act], including bargaining in bad faith," said the release.
INA maintains that Howard Brown intends to illegally follow through on the threatened layoff of 60 members. The release continued: "HBH management claims they have a $12 million budget hole that they want to 'fill' by laying off new union membersjust as contract negotiations for the unit's first contract have begun."
Hundreds of Howard Brown employees and supporters picketed the organization's North Side administrative offices about the matter Dec. 3.
INA was close to a series of strikes against Howard Brown in October, but those were averted at the last minute. Those negotiations centered on staffing issues as well as pay.
In a response to the Dec. 23 announcement, Howard Brown President and CEO David Ernesto Munar said, "In the event of a work stoppage by unionized employees, Howard Brown will implement a contingency plan that ensures all patient appointments are completed or rescheduled as soon as possible, while following all labor regulations.
"The notice of intent to strike follows a series of proposals involving a reduction in Howard Brown's workforce, including 60 union-represented positions. It is important to note that we are still in the middle of bargaining these proposals with the union with our next negotiation session set for Dec. 28."
The last proposal to the union by Howard Brown included 60 positions proposed for elimination on Jan. 3, 2023.
Munar added, "The proposed separation package for laid-off staff members includes two weeks of salary for staff with less than 2 years of employment and four weeks of pay for staff with over 3 or more completed years of employment. Under the proposal, both categories of staff would also receive health insurance and Employee Assistance Program benefits through the end of January. The Union has yet to respond to this last proposal, but has promised to do so no later than our Dec. 28 bargaining session."
Howard Brown Health workers announced their intent to unionize with INA in Feb. 2022. Workers filed a petition for recognition with two-thirds of their co-workers showing support for unionization the following June.
For more on the Dec. 3 protest, see www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Howard-Brown-Health-set-to-lay-off-15-percent-of-the-staff-union-members-respond/74437.html .