CHICAGO — Some 2,000 Cook County Health hospital workers went on strike here June 25 in a fight for higher pay. The workers, including custodians, technicians, health care professionals and clerks, are members of Service Employees International Union Local 73. The old contract expired Nov. 30.
Many of those on strike work at Stroger Hospital. Others are at Provident, Cermak Health Services and clinics.
On June 29 over 400 strikers rallied downtown outside Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office. “We are on strike for better pay,” Tashica Grant, a medical assistant at Stroger, told this Militant reporter. “And we are being overcharged for medical benefits.”
Two days later lead union negotiator Larry Alcoff reported the union turned down the county’s offer of a 8.5% wage increase over the next four years.
More than 900 nurses, members of National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, carried out a one-day strike at the same facilities June 24. “Our main issue is staffing,” nurse Faith Djirackor said. “We don’t have enough nurses to properly take care of our patients.”
The nurses approved a new contract July 1-2. The agreement boosts nurses’ wages across the board by 8.5% over the four-year contract, the Chicago Tribune reported. Cook County Health bosses also agreed to fill 300 nurse vacancies.