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Local News

AMITA gives new proposal to striking nurses

Nurses with Illinois Nurses Association began their strike at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet on Saturday.
Nurses with Illinois Nurses Association began their strike at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center Joliet on Saturday.

AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center sent a new contract proposal to striking nurses on Monday.

A lead negotiator for the nurses said the latest proposal will be presented to union membership on Monday night but that it was not likely to resolve the contract dispute.

More than 700 nurses have been on strike at the hospital since Saturday.

The proposal sent by AMITA on Monday afternoon was the third exchanged between the two sides since shortly before the strike began.

"It wasn't good," Pat Meade, a nurse and negotiator, said of AMITA's latest proposal. "We are going to take it to the body and get their opinion."

Meade said it will be up to nurses whether they want to vote on the proposal after it is discussed.

She said the latest proposal continues to "fall short" on the safe staffing issue that is the primary motivation for the strike.

Meade said the latest AMITA proposal provides incentive pay to address staffing shortages. But she said that does not deal with safe staffing levels.

Nurses contend that patient-nurse ratios at the hospital reach levels that are unsafe for patient care.

Meade said nurses were prepared to accept a one-year pay freeze while holding off negotiations on pay for the final two years of the contract.

AMITA has said a pay freeze this year is needed because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AMITA spokesman Timothy Nelson in an email did not comment on the proposal sent to the nurses on Monday,

Instead, he referred to AMITA's "final offer" on Friday which added wage increases for the second and third year of the contract. AMITA previously had proposed a three-year wage freeze.

The nurses' contract expired on May 9.

The Illinois Nurses Association filed several unfair labor practices complaints in the weeks leading up to the strike. They announced the strike date on June 22.

AMITA in turn has hired agency nurses as replacement workers while nurses are on strike.

AMITA also has moved some patients from Joliet to AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale.

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