• Health Care
  • Sinai workers call off strike plans

    The safety-net hospital chain has reached a deal with unionized workers.

    Chicago Mount Sinai Hospital Adult Trauma Center
    Sinai Health

    Mount Sinai Hospital's adult trauma center on the West Side.

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    Sinai Health System has reached a tentative deal with unionized workers, preventing about 400 hospital employees from walking off the job.

    79彩票注册网址The safety-net hospital chain and workers late last night settled on a contract that will increase wages, staffing and health coverage and address working conditions for many certified nursing assistants, housekeepers, and dietary and transportation workers at Mount Sinai Hospital and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Sinai and SEIU Healthcare Illinois announced today.

    79彩票注册网址The workers were prepared to strike Monday at 7 a.m. if they failed to reach a tentative contract agreement with Sinai, following more than four months of negotiations.

    79彩票注册网址The new contract will lift workers to a starting wage of $15 an hour, lower health insurance costs and increase staffing levels, the pair said in a statement.

    79彩票注册网址Seventy-two percent of Sinai's hospital service workers made less than $15 an hour prior to this contract, compared with 61 percent of hospital service workers in the Chicago area and 55 percent in Illinois, a union representative said in an email.

    79彩票注册网址“This contract represents a significant step toward lifting up standards for workers throughout the Chicago-area hospital industry, a workforce that is largely black and brown and female,” Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, said in the statement. “Sinai workers have secured significant wage increases and higher staffing levels, which will improve both working conditions and the quality of patient care.”

    The workers in October voted to give their bargaining committee the authorization to call a strike. Nurses, doctors and most licensed technical caregivers were not involved in the negotiations.

    “Providing access to high-quality health care for people in need has been the heart of Sinai’s mission for 100 years,” Sinai CEO Karen Teitelbaum said in the statement. “We applaud the hard work of the negotiating teams from both Sinai and SEIU to reach an agreement that will allow us to take care of our caregivers and continue to work together to meet our mission: improving the health of the individuals and communities we serve.”

    Negotiations took place as other big changes were happening around the safety-net hospital chain.

    Holy Cross Hospital this month stopped offering obstetric services due to low patient volume and it’s consolidating other units. The changes prompted outrage from workers and community members who fear the hospital is headed for closure, but a Sinai representative said that’s not the case.

    Sinai is also closing Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital’s 79彩票注册网址subacute services unit, which serves as a bridge between acute care and home health, due to potentially lower reimbursement rates. 

    Sinai isn’t the only local chain that's been dealing with tough labor negotiations. About 2,200 University of Chicago Medical Center nurses, who said short staffing caused treatment delays and jeopardized patient safety, went on strike in September after contract negotiations fell apart. The nurses returned to work after a five-day lockout and negotiations resumed.

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