Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Message to Staff: UI Health’s Economic Proposal

August 20, 2020

Dear Nursing Colleagues:

Yesterday, UI Health presented its initial economic proposal to the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) during collective bargaining agreement negotiations. You will find information about our proposal and our track record of nursing compensation below and in the attached.

UI Health Leads in Nurse Compensation

We are proud of our track record of industry-leading nurse compensation. Nurses at UI Health are among the highest compensated in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and across the United States.

As indicated in the chart below, on average, UI Health RNs are paid $20,000 more per year than other RNs in Chicago, Illinois and the U.S.

Base Hourly Rate Annual Equivalent (Source: O*NET OnLine)
UI Health $48.10 $100,048
Chicago Metro Area Average $36.39 $75,691
Illinois Average $34.43 $71,614
U.S. Average $35.24 $73,299

It is important to note that these comparisons are for base pay only, not including overtime, shift differentials and other peripheral pay that boost our nurses’ wages even higher.

UI Health nurses also receive generous pension, paid time off and other employee benefits.

In 2019-2020, UI Health nurses at all levels earned an average annual anniversary increase of 2.44%. According to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, during this same time frame, the average pay for registered nurses in their member hospitals increased by less than 1% (0.33%). Meanwhile, the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2019 and 2020 held steady at 1.6% each year.

Our Pandemic Response Offered Additional Compensation

We value and respect all our essential workers and the critical roles they play in providing vital care for our community. UI Health was a trailblazer and among the first in the region to offer COVID differential pay. We recognized our caregivers’ dedication by instituting hourly differential pay premiums ranging from $5 to $15 per hour to ensure our compensation continued to be among the highest in the region.

In addition, UI Health did not lay off or furlough a single staff member during the pandemic.

Our Initial Economic Proposal

Our initial economic proposal to INA included the following components:

  • A five-year contract agreement
  • Continuation of annual step increases
    • Nurses will receive an average 2.44% anniversary increase every year
  • Suspension of annual ATB increases (years 1-3)
  • Across the Board (ATB) increase based on achieving Nurse Sensitive Indicators and Patient Experience (years 4-5)
  • Deletion of Step 2 increase for new grads who pass probation (will now move to Step 2 at their anniversary)
  • $1,500 annual bonus at Step 27 each year
  • New pay differentials for tiered staffing
  • On-call pay $5.00 differential
  • HURCs converted to non-exempt/hourly scale
    • Overtime-eligible
    • Differential-eligible
    • Adjustment of HURC scale to reflect exempt/hourly scale
  • Moving current HURC to next step where there is no loss of pay
  • Increase the CNCII’s wage scales

With our proposal, UI Health nurse salaries will remain in the top 10% locally and nationally— even as the State of Illinois and the University face an unprecedented financial crisis as a result of the ongoing COVID pandemic. It is important to note that, across campus, there are no salary increases for open range and academic staff, and departments are seeing budget cuts of 7% to 10%

We hope this information helps you understand our economic proposal, and our strong track record of high nursing compensation.

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


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

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 Resource Office & Patient Logistics

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

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