Press Release

RNs at UChicago Medicine vote overwhelmingly to ratify new four-year agreement

UChicago nurses gather with signs in support of safe staffing.

New contract includes provisions to address patient safety issues

Registered nurses at UChicago Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year agreement that addresses numerous patient safety concerns, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.

“We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish for our patients with this new contract,” said Pam Valentine, a registered nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit. “This contract includes numerous provisions that we believe will translate into better recruitment and retention of experienced nurses who are critical in providing the highest quality of care to our patients. In addition, we have new processes in place to address the chronic understaffing that has led to many nurses leaving UChicago.”

Highlights of the contract include: 

  • A commitment that charge nurses (who are responsible for flow of the unit and who provide critical support to other floor nurses) will not be assigned a patient load in nearly a dozen new units.
  • Language that limits floating nurses out of units where a charge nurse is responsible for a patient assignment
  • Dedicated meal- and relief-break nurse in the adult emergency department 
  • A commitment to provide training and wage increases for sexual assault nurse examiners to better provide care for survivors 
  • A commitment to provide training and wage increases for labor and delivery scrub nurse team
  • New step-by-step process for addressing staffing concerns and an option to resolve through federal mediation 
  • Significant wage increases across the board, from 20 percent up to 40 percent over the life of the contract
  • No changes to retirement benefits for the life of the contract and health care premiums remain at current percentage.

“This contract shows what nurses can achieve for our community when we stand in solidarity to demand that UChicago make the changes necessary to ensure each and every patient is getting the care they need and deserve,” said Brigitt Manson, a registered nurse in the pediatric unit and the chief nurse representative for NNOC/NNU. “We are grateful for the community’s support throughout this process. We were determined to do everything we could for our patients, even if that meant going on strike. However, we are so glad we reached an agreement so we could stay at the bedside, where we want to be, caring for our patients.”

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.