Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Howard Brown, union officials dispute allegations around sidewalk incident
by Carrie Maxwell

This article shared 2829 times since Fri Jan 6, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

As striking Howard Brown Health Workers United (HBH Workers United) members represented by the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) and their allies were picketing outside of the Andersonville Brown Elephant location at 5404 N. Clark St. on the afternoon of Jan. 4, an alleged incident took place between two shoppers (a mother and her adult daughter) and some of the striking workers.

CPD was called to the scene, with Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown) organization officials alleging that the shoppers were intimidated by picketers. The union in turn calls that allegation untrue.

In a press release posted on the Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown) website, organization officials alleged that picketers physically surrounded the mother and daughter to bar them entry into the store.

"After our safety team was able to escort them inside, these customers expressed concerns for their safety upon exiting the store," added Howard Brown Health Communications Manager Wren O'Kelley in that same press release. "As a result, the police were called to deescalate the situation and ensure the wellbeing of Brown Elephant customers and employees. We are deeply disappointed in the actions of the INA in this incident, which occurred in the presence of Howard Brown Health employees and the public."

O'Kelley added that Howard Brown filed a charge against the INA with the National Labor Relations Board "for the unlawful and intimidating picket line conduct today at Brown Elephant Andersonville."

HBH Workers United refuted these allegations, maintaining in a statement that onsite private security guards hired by Howard Brown "called Chicago Police on workers and supporters who were chanting and flyering outside the location. Private security guards photographed Brown Elephant and Howard Brown Health employees without their consent, breaking Illinois and federal labor law. Management claimed in a statement following the incident that union members were blocking entry to the shop but workers and witnesses say this is untrue."

HBH Workers United member Gabi Mulder added in that same press release, "This action is deeply concerning to us because it violates HBH's own policy against police involvement and puts our coworkers at risk. Many of our coworkers are queer and we live in a time where police violence against LGBTQ+ folks, homophobia and transphobia are rampant. For Howard Brown Health's private security to put our coworkers at risk is unacceptable."

Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th Ward), who represents the area where the Andersonville Brown Elephant is located, came to the scene after the Chicago Police were called.

In a Jan. 5 press release Vasquez said, "On January 4th at approximately 12:45 p.m., I was contacted regarding a situation at Brown Elephant (5404 N. Clark) in the 40th Ward, where members of Howard Brown Health United and Illinois Nurses Association were striking against unfair layoffs made by Howard Brown Health (HBH) during the holiday season. When I arrived at the scene, I spoke to the picketers, Brown Elephant safety staff, and CPD, who were called to the location by management.

"Brown Elephant Staff alleged that a woman and her daughter were not being allowed to enter, and that a customer was afraid to exit back out of the store. The strike leader flatly denied that they had stopped anyone from entering, stating that they were informing people as to why they shouldn't cross a picket line and providing literature. Hearing the conflicting accounts, I entered the business myself to speak to the woman and her daughter, who communicated that although the interaction was loud, as most protests are, they were not afraid. I offered to escort them out if they wanted me to, and they made it clear that it would not be necessary. They did not express concerns for their safety in regard to exiting the store when I asked them.

"It is disappointing to see an institution like Howard Brown Health, which does so much for our community, misrepresent what occurred yesterday in attempts to undermine those seeking to have a fair negotiation and to protect their members, who are being laid off due to the unfair decisions of HBH leadership. While I recognize that the actions of large pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and United Therapeutics are the cause of Howard Brown Health's financial challenges, the decision to lay off workers while still expanding their facilities is the wrong one, and their union busting actions make it worse."

When Windy City Times reached out to Howard Brown to comment on HBH Workers United statement about the alleged incident, O'Kelley said in an email to this publication that the organization's previous statement "was not made lightly. An internal investigation confirms the details of our previous statement regarding picketer conduct. In response to this, an on-site staff member called the police to peacefully negotiate ingress and egress to the building, which they did without incident or arrest. At all times, physical safety for everyone—picketers and non-picketers—has been our priority. Involving the police is a last resort for our safety team in any situation. Howard Brown Health is confident that any alleged photography by Howard Brown Health in this matter was lawful under the NLRA."

The union similarly stood behind its own account of the events.

"INA maintains our version of events and feels confident that whatever proceedings follow will be resolved in our favor," said INA organizer Sarah Hurd in an email statement to Windy City Times when asked about the above response from Howard Brown management.

The strike, launched after Howard Brown announced layoffs of several workers, took place Jan. 3-5.

For more on this, visit .

This article shared 2829 times since Fri Jan 6, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

OPINION Social media use, mental health literacy and related problems among LGBTQ+ youth
Special to Windy City Times Depression levels in the United States have risen steadily over the past five decades, and steep increases have been observed in recent years among children, adolescents, and adults under 25 years ...

Gay News

Lambda, TLDEF urge 4th Circuit to uphold rulings protecting gender-affirming care in NC, WV
--From a press release - (RICHMOND, VA - Thursday, Sept 21) — Today, a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard arguments in two cases involving equal access to health care for transgender people. State ...

Gay News

Pritzker and Brady-Davis honored at Planned Parenthood gala
On the evening of Sept. 14, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA) and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC (PPIA PAC) organizations presented their annual Fighting Forward Gala fundraiser. The event shone ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian politician, Nancy Pelosi, bomb threat, politician dies, Lyft
Kathy Kozachenko—the first out politician elected to public office in the country—will be honored with a statue on the 50th anniversary of her historic election, per The Advocate. The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will honor ...

Gay News

MAP reports on obstacles trans people face with healthcare, legal recognition
--From a press release - Today the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released Banning Medical Care and Legal Recognition for Transgender People, the fifth in MAP's report series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America. The report details how the ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to resume abortions after ruling
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) announced that it will resume abortion-care services Monday, Sept. 18, after a judge ruled in July that an old state law that appeared to ban the procedure does not apply to ...

Gay News

Aging LGBTQ+ Americans face additional caregiving challenges
While Darcy Connors was a nursing home administrator in the South, she also operated a COVID-19 recovery center. Connors and her staff noticed that two of the patients in their charge had a strong connection with ...

Gay News

On the (gay) horizon: Center on Halsted marks 50 years
In 1973, a group of Chicagoans organized a telephone hotline, which they named Helpline, allowing the community to more easily find and assist one another. This was a time when LGBTQ+ bars were still regularly raided ...

Gay News

WORLD Brazilian court, Scottish items, Canadian policy, PEPFAR
The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled nine to one that homophobia is now punishable with up to five years in prison, The Washington Blade reported. Their decision equates homophobia to racism in terms of prison time. ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health reinstates workers following NLRB settlement recommendations
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2023 — Howard Brown Health reinstated 25 employees as part of a plan to follow the recommendations outlined in a proposed settlement from Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The ...

Gay News

Chicago Dancers United raises more than $365K at Dance for Life
Chicago Dancers United (CDU)—which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community—welcomed 1,600 people to the 32nd annual Dance for Life on Aug. 19 at Auditorium Theatre, per ...

Gay News

WORLD Argentinian elections, indian prince, UN, Gay Games
The results of Argentina's Aug. 13 primary elections revealed a political landscape that combines significant advances in LGBTQI+ rights with the expansion of the far-right in that country, The Washington ...

Gay News

Court allows anti-trans youth healthcare ban in Alabama
On Aug. 21, a three-judge panel on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a district court judge's temporary injunction against Alabama's law banning gender-affirming care for people under 19, The Hill reported. The development ...

Gay News

Federal Judge issues injunction restoring health care for Georgia transgender children
--From a press release - ATLANTA—A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction late Sunday halting a provision in Georgia Senate Bill 140 ("SB 140," the "Health Care Ban," or the "Ban") from taking effect while a lawsuit filed by four Georgia ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood of Illinois receives $525K grant for youth STI pilot program
—From a press release. CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) received a $525,000 grant to pilot a new Chicago Healthy Adolescents & Teens (CHAT) STI testing initiative for adolescents 13 to 24-years-old in Chicago. The ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.