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UIC Workers Fight Privatization

By Joe Iosbaker

Chicago, IL – The struggle continues at the UIC Medical Center. In recent months, the Chicago Tribune broke the news of a planned merger of 3 hospitals: UIC, Cook County, and Rush-St. Luke's Presbyterian. This is another form of privatization, because Rush is a private hospital, with an enormous, for-profit HMO.

The Illinois Nurses Association (INA) and workers in Local 73 Service Employees International Union have declared they will fight this to the end. A picket and rally were held October 6 at UIC Hospital, with 100 workers and nurses. October 14, 20 workers and 20 nurses traveled to the Board of Trustees meeting in Urbana to protest.

In recent negotiations, the INA was told that management intends to separate the Hospital from the rest of the campus. This will mean if you are cut from UIC Hospital, you can't bump into other job positions elsewhere at the University of Illinois Chicago. This also fits into the plan of privatization, because Rush wants the work force at UIC Medical Center trimmed further.

“The top doctors and administrators at UIC, and the shareholders of Rush-Prudential HMO, want the workers on our knees, begging for our jobs,” said Sirlena Perry, assistant chief steward of Local 73 at UIC. “But I'll be damned if we will allow them to get away with their scheme.”

Breaking News

The UIC management is getting rid of the job-cutting, anti-labor Hunter group. This is a victory for nurses, and all hospital workers at the Medical Center. Expect more coverage of these developments in the next issue of Fight Back!

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