Jackson Park Chicago RNs Win First Hospital Contract
Welcome Significant Improvements in Patient Protections
Registered nurses at Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center on Chicago’s South Side late Monday reached agreement with hospital officials on their first ever collective bargaining contract that includes significant improvements in patient care protections.
The tentative pact covering 140 RNs who are represented by the nation’s largest nurses’ organization, National Nurses United must still be ratified by the nurses in a membership meeting to be held later this week.
"Joining an RN union allowed JPH nurses to stand together and negotiate a contract that respects us as professional RNs. We now have the tools to advocate for our patients,” said Jackson Park RN LeShaun Williams
A number of important provisions strengthening patient care delivery were the key to the pact, say the RNs, such as improved staffing grids for every hospital unit that can not be changed without the agreement of both management and the bedside nurses, increased staffing as needed based on individual patient illness, and two extra RNs on each shift as a “float pool” to assure safer staffing.
“We demanded a staffing grid that is safer for patients and nurses and cannot be changed without negotiating with the union,” said Jackson Park RN Dianne Hibbler.
Other significant patient care gains include limits on the assignment of nurses to clinical areas outside their specialty expertise, safe patient handling provisions with special lift equipment for patients to stem patient falls and accidents and worker injuries, and a Professional Performance Committee of staff nurses, elected by their colleagues, to meet with management to address patient care issues.
“Our fight for a first contract has made feel united and empowered. Having a RN union means we don’t fight by ourselves anymore and gives us the protection we need,” said Jackson Park RN Monica Lloyd.
The RNs also welcomed economic improvements, including protections against excessive out of pocket health coverage costs and changes in their health plan, a new wage structure that rewards RNs with increases based on years of service, and across the board pay increases for all RNs of 7.5 percent over the three years of the agreement.
“This agreement marks a substantial step forward for Jackson Park patients and nurses, and will be an inspiration for nurses throughout the greater Chicago area,” said NNU Midwest Director Jan Rodolfo, RN. “The Jackson Park RN earned this agreement through their unity and their determination to win these great gains for their patients and themselves.”
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