Nurses begin one-day strike at Cook County health facilities. Social workers to begin picketing Friday
Chicago, IL – At 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 24 nurses represented by National Nurses United (NNU) In Chicago, Illinois began a 24-hour strike against Cook County's health facilities’ management. The nurses are striking to end chronic staff shortages which they say have been undermining care for patients and the communities.
In addition to the NNU nurses, social workers represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73 (SEIU 73) will begin open-ended picketing of the same facilities, including John H. Stroger Hospital, Cermak Health Services, the Cook County jail, and Provident Hospital. The strike and the picketing are receiving support from the Chicago Teachers Union as well, which is encouraging its members to attend the pickets.
NNU member Consuelo Vargas is an emergency room registered nurse at Stroger Hospital and had the following to say, “Nurses are being pushed to a breaking point. Many patients have gone without care during the pandemic and are now beginning to seek treatment for their ongoing medical conditions. Yet we are constantly understaffed, and because of that, we are losing experienced nurses. In fact, we have lost a century of nursing experience over a six-week time span because so many of our experienced nurses left because they felt they could not provide the best care to their patients. We do not want to strike, we want to be at the bedside, but it is time for Cook County to create a plan to hire nurses to care for our community.”
NNU and SEIU Local 73 say they are striking and picketing to show Cook County health management that patients deserve safe responsible staffing levels and better services for communities in need.