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Message to Staff: INA Negotiation Update

September 4, 2020

Dear Nursing Colleagues:

Negotiations Update

UI Health and INA met for two full days of bargaining this week, and both sides exchanged updated economic proposals in our most recent meeting. We are scheduled for additional bargaining sessions next week on Wednesday and Thursday, September 9 and 10.

On Tuesday, the INA delivered a 10-day notice regarding the intent to strike for seven days starting September 12.

It is our sincere hope that a strike can be avoided. We are prepared to continue bargaining in good faith as often as needed to reach a successful agreement that balances the needs of our nurses and patients alike.

Contract Improvement Offers

Throughout our negotiations, UI Health has offered an extensive list of contract improvements to enhance working conditions for our nursing colleagues.  Below we summarize a number of our proposals, all of which are currently on the table and awaiting action by INA.

As you can see from these proposals, we are listening to our nurses and their suggestions for improving a number of important staffing and operational issues.


Regarding regular schedules, we have proposed:

  • that nurses be able to request four preferred days off per schedule
  • the creation of optional four-hour flex schedules
  • that AN1’s receive assigned administrative time to collaborate regarding schedules
  • a requirement that all scheduling be managed in a fair and transparent manner


When it comes to overtime, we have made the following proposals:

  • overtime sign-up be unit based
  • overtime be available in four (4) hour increments (when/where operationally feasible)


Our time-off proposals include the following:

  • nurses may request vacation time six months in advance, with the full six months being visible and available
  • all nurses be able to request to reduce FTE appointments in a consistent manner

Safety and Disaster Preparedness

Our proposals include:

  • establishing a Workplace Prevention Committee to identify and formulate strategies to decrease hazards
  • providing all nurses the opportunity to participate in annual training related to health and safety, such as workplace violence prevention and violence de-escalation
  • continuing to partner with the INA during any disasters or emergencies, including retaining open lines of communication
  • reviewing disaster staffing changes with the INA
  • considering INA input regarding disaster-related decision-making and implementation

Pay for HR Meetings

With regard to HR meetings, we are proposing to:

  • pay employees participating in pre-disciplinary, reconciliation or grievance meetings
  • pay night-shift nurses and night-shift union representatives to stay over or arrive early to attend pre-disciplinary, reconciliation or grievance meetings
  • pay up to two nurses invited by the INA to attend labor-management meetings

Posting and Hiring for New Positions

When it comes to posting and hiring for new positions, we propose to:

  • interview every current employee who meets the qualifications for a position
  • not disqualify a candidate who lacks needed certifications for an open position if a certification can be obtained in a reasonable time period
  • offer posted positions to the most senior employee if two or more employees are both qualified and apply for a position
  • post positions to the most senior employee if there are no applicants from the unit
  • include the date of job posting in the title of each job posting
  • establish initial step placement for all new nurses based on the date of RN license
  • inform the INA whenever vacant positions are reassigned or attritted


Our disciplinary practices proposals include:

  • all pre-disciplinary meetings will be held within thirty (30) days
  • imposing discipline as soon as possible and within 28 days from when the determination is made
  • providing periodic status updates to employees on administrative leave
  • allowing flex nurses to be afforded the same “just cause” disciplinary protections as other nurses

Other proposals

Finally, we have proposed to:

  • pay for one set of scrub apparel (one shirt and one pair of pants) if nurses are required to switch over to a particular scrub color
  • Upon request, nurses can be assigned work hours to complete training. 

Additional clarifications regarding HURCs and the NCC

In addition, there has been confusion about UI Health’s proposals related to HURCs and the NCC. Here is clarification on what we are proposing.

  • We are proposing to transition HURCs from salaried to hourly employees, which means they are now eligible for overtime. In addition, HURCs will move to steps that are higher than their current hourly rate (the closest, higher step on the new scale). There will be no decrease in base salary for current employees.
  • We are proposing to revise the operation of the NCC as part of our comprehensive Staffing for Safe Patient Care plan, and to reflect the intent of Illinois Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity Act.  By implementing a true patient-acuity care model, real-time, flex decisions about staffing are built into everyday operations, and there is no need for mandatory two-hour meetings. Assignments Despite Objection (ADOs) will be submitted to the NCC to track trends and ensure sufficient staffing.

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We know that there is a lot at stake in the new contract for our nurses. We are committed to working collaboratively at the bargaining table around the clock if needed to reach a fair and equitable agreement.

As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact your Senior Director or ACNO.


Sheila Cook, MS, RN, ACNS‐BC
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Patient Experience

Ruby Darlene Evans, MSN, RN, MT, CPHQ
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Nursing Quality & Clinical Professional Practice Development

Robin Garrett, BSN, RN, CNOR
Senior Director, Perioperative Services

Phyllis Grice, MSN, RN
Senior Director of Operations

Tiesa Hughes‐Dillard, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA‐BC
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Division of Med‐Surg, Dialysis & Pastoral Care

DeLisa Jeffries, MS, MPH, BSN, RN
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Ambulatory Services

Rani Morrison, MS, MSW, LCSW, ACM, FACHE
Senior Director, Care Continuum

Doreen Norris‐Stojak, MS, RN, NEA‐BC
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Women & Children’s Health & Psychiatry

Lisa Potts, DNP, RN
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Nursing Informatics and Nursing Resources Office

Jill Stemmerman, DNP, RN, CENP
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Division of Critical Care, CDU & Diagnostics

Jacquelyn Whitten, DNP, RN
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Emergency Services & Patient Logistics

Shelly Major, PhD, RN, NEA‐BC, FACHE
Chief Nursing Officer