Press Release

Registered nurses at Community First Medical Center reach tentative agreement

Nurses outside Community First Medical Center hold signs calling for safety

Strike planned for later this week now averted

Registered nurses at Community First Medical Center in Chicago are proud to have reached a tentative agreement on their first union contract, the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) announced today.

The announcement of the two-year agreement, with strong protections for patients and nurses, comes just days after registered nurses issued a strike notice. The tentative agreement means the planned strike will be averted.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have reached this agreement, and we know that it will help us recruit and retain experienced nurses,” said Kathy Haff, a registered nurse in the emergency department. “This was a long fight. We are so proud of how all the nurses came together to win so many important protections that will help us provide the safe patient care people in our community deserve.”

Contract highlights include:

Health and safety provisions: Community First has agreed to ensure nurses get the highest level of personal protective equipment when caring for confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients.

The creation of nurse-run committees to strengthen advocacy for patients and to address staffing, workplace safety, and other issues impacting safe patient care conditions.

The tentative agreement includes restrictions to prevent nurses from being floated to units where they lack the training or clinical expertise to care for the patients.

Economic gains to recruit and retain experienced nurses: The contract includes wage increases averaging 17 percent over the term of the contract. To address economic justice issues, this contract moves all RNs to a pay scale based on number of years of nursing experience.

Opportunities for advancement and education: This contract offers expanded tuition reimbursement and paid education leave for nurses, which will afford nurses enhanced opportunities to expand their nursing competencies.

Increased investments in supplies and equipment: The hospital has agreed to address long-standing issues by investing more in security, supplies, and equipment. Nurses say these improvements will allow them to focus on safe patient care.

Nurses say these highlights and other important contract features will have a long-lasting positive impact on the community.

“Providing high-quality care for our patients throughout this pandemic has been incredibly challenging,” said Patricia Ryan, RN. “The new contract, with its emphasis on safety protections and the creation of a pathway for continued dialogue between nurses and management, will go a long way toward improving the care we can give our patients and our ability to attract and retain experienced nurses.”

Nurses are scheduled to vote on the tentative agreement later this week.

RNs at Community First Medical Center joined National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United in 2019.

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide. NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease, and workplace violence prevention.