Nurses Vote to Authorize Strike

March 2, 2006


Nurses who work at Cook County hospitals and clinics have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike.

Whether they strike depends on how contract negotiations go with county officials.

Diane Ellis works as a pediatric intensive care nurse at Stroger Hospital and is on the union's bargaining committee.

Ellis says nurses want staffing levels and pay that are on par with local hospitals.

"We're across the street from U of I, but are we paid comparable to them? No. Do we have different patients than they have? No. Do they have special nurses? No. We're all the same."

Ellis says the nursing budget is minute compared to other county budgets.

The 1,800 registered nurses represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee have been working without a contract for about a year.

Cook County officials say they've been bargaining in good faith since talks began in September, but declined comment on the strike vote.

The two sides are expected to return to the bargaining table tomorrow.