JOLIET – Nurses at AMITA Saint Joseph Medical Center have voted ‘yes’ in favor of striking.
The nurses tallied the votes late Friday night. Of the more than 700 nurses eligible to vote, 558 nurses supported the measure while only 53 nurses said no to the strike.
Nurses at Saint Joseph have been working without an employment agreement since their last contract expired on May 9th. The vote does not mean the nurses will go on strike as there are still at least eight more collective bargaining sessions set to be held with AMITA management in the coming days.
Those sessions will extend into the first three weeks of June.
St. Joseph has already lost nurses in the pandemic due to COVID-19 while caring for those sick with the pandemic. The hospital was already short-staffed before the outbreak.
Nurses have been in contract negotiations with AMITA since February.
The Illinois Nursing Association has filed three unfair labor practice act complaints against AMITA hospital with the National Labor Relations Board. They’ve accused the supervisor at the hospital of asking nurses to wave COVID incentive pay in exchange for additional shifts, interrogating and intimidating nurses about union activity and other allegations.
Any strike would require 10 days notice to allow for maintained continuality of patient care at the hospital. The measure was put into place nearly 30 years ago when Congress amended the National Labor Relations Act. Without the precautionary delay hospitals and their patients would be exposed to interruptions in the delivery of patient care.
Among issues to be addressed include higher levels of nurse staffing, benefits, and pay.
The City of Joliet has been a hotspot in the war against COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,476 cases of novel coronavirus in Joliet zip codes alone. Since March, Will County has seen 5,459 cases and 269 deaths due to COVID-19.