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Message to Staff: Updates & Addressing Questions

August 28, 2020

Dear Nursing Colleagues:

Negotiations Update

This week, UI Health and the Illinois Nursing Association met for two full days of bargaining—representing the 17th and 18th times our two groups have met in the 11 weeks since we began negotiations on June 9. For a number of the most recent sessions, we have been joined by a federal mediator who is helping guide our discussions and facilitate ongoing collaborative, good faith negotiations.

Our many, frequent meetings for collective bargaining in just a few short months reflect UI Health’s commitment to reaching a fair and equitable new contract in a timely fashion. We remain hopeful that a new agreement that continues our tradition of generous wages and fair working conditions for our valuable nursing colleagues can be reached. Recently, UI Health and the INA mutually agreed to a two-week contract extension through September 7, 2020, which will allow us  \to engage in further dialogue without disruption. However, it is important to note that most key terms of the current collective bargaining agreement (including compensation and benefits) will remain in effect until a new contract is reached.

You can read our last two updates about UI Health’s staffing proposal here and our economic proposal here.

UI Health’s New Staffing Proposal for Low-Census Days

There has been some confusion about how UI Health’s new staffing proposal would treat on-call status for low-census days, so we want to clarify what we are proposing.

On low-census days, we are proposing that nurses be placed on-call during the first half of their scheduled shift AND receive an additional $5.00/hour for their on-call time, in order to preserve flexibility to offer safe patient care should census increase unexpectedly. For the entire low-census day, nurses can choose to be paid using their vacation time, floating holidays or gift days. In this way, during low-census, a staff nurse can receive a full-day of pay plus $5.00/hour for the first half of their scheduled shift.

Shared Commitment to Ensuring Access to Adequate Supplies of PPE

With the health and safety of our staff and patients as a top priority, UI Health has been consistently and diligently working to acquire as much PPE as we can find on the market throughout the pandemic. We continue to do everything we can to acquire and provide adequate PPE supplies.

This week, University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics CEO Mike Zenn, INA Executive Director Alice Johnson and SEIU Local 73 President Diane Palmer sent joint letters to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, asking for their support in acquiring these critically needed supplies. We were pleased to partner with our INA and SEIU colleagues to raise this issue to leaders at the highest levels of our city and state governments. These letters can be read here.

The New Outpatient Surgery Center and Specialty Clinics Building

Some have asked about the recent groundbreaking for UI Health’s new Outpatient Surgery Center and Specialty Clinics building and how the University can afford to proceed with this project given current circumstances. We want to share a few facts about the project, how it is being financed, how it will improve patient care and how it will create new jobs at UI Health.

  • This project does not draw substantially on University or Hospital capital. The facility is funded as a public-private partnership (P3) between the University of Illinois and Provident Resources Group, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Provident will finance most of the cost of the building through tax-exempt bonds and lease the facility to UI Health during a 30-year term. This funding model, in addition to a generous support from private philanthropy, provides us the flexibility to move forward without drawing substantially on Hospital capital. This is the first health care facility in the state of Illinois and the second building on UIC’s campus to be funded through a P3 model.
  • This new 200,000-square-foot clinical and surgical facility is critical to UI Health’s ability to continue to deliver high-quality care to our community. We have seen annual increases in outpatient surgeries for many years, and we expect that demand for these services and specialty care will continue to grow in the coming years as Chicago and the nation emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The new building will include six floors of patient care space for inpatient, outpatient and specialty clinics that have outgrown their current facilities, as well as eight operating and eight procedure rooms; pre- and post-surgery bays; clinic space for GI, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, transplant and urology; and a pharmacy.
  • This project will create a total of more than 600 new jobs. Expanded clinical services and related building operations will create more than 100 new full-time positions at UI Health, the majority of which will be part of collective bargaining units. Additionally, construction of the building will employ approximately 500 individuals over the course of the two-year project. The University has committed to engaging local minority, women and veteran owned companies, and approximately 30% of the total construction costs ($194 million) will be spent among these businesses.

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UI Health is committed to continuing our good-faith negotiations under the guidance of the federal mediator. Additional meetings are scheduled in the coming weeks and we are hopeful that a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached.

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/Information Systems/Operations

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