Nurses reach tentative deal at Community First Medical Center

Unionized nurses at Community First Medical Center on the northwest side of Chicago reached an agreement in principle on a two-year contract, avoiding a three-day strike that was due to begin on Friday.

The National Nurses United said the deal called for salary increases of 17% on average over the term of the contract, which members say will help with recruitment and retention. He also calls for nurse-led committees to address patient care and staff issues and for increased hospital spending for safety equipment. Community First is at 5645 W. Addison St.

The agreement covers around 250 nurses, the union said. Members are due to vote on the contract later this week.

In a statement, hospital board chairman Edward Green praised the deal, saying it “will help Community First provide excellent care to our patients, recruit additional nurses and pay our existing nurses for their incredible work during the COVID pandemic “.

Green said the union will join the hospital to lobby for more public funds. “Community First receives the lowest total funding per Medicaid patient of any hospital in the Chicago Safety Network,” he said.

Nurses unionized in 2019 and this would be their first contract. Staff had staged public protests drawing attention to the lack of personal protective equipment and the pandemic-related deaths of three staff. The union called for a one-day strike in July.

The hospital had said months ago that the lack of such equipment was common across healthcare and a federal investigation found it was not guilty of the deaths of the employees. He said two of the staff were part-time employees who had jobs elsewhere.

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