Nurses still on strike at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet

Union nurses were still on strike Sunday at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet over disputes with the hospital management on staffing levels.

Dozens of nurses were still waving signs and marching around the perimeter of the hospital located at 333 Madison St. There is no end date set for the strike, according to Illinois Nurses Association spokesman Chris Martin.

Leah Lovejoy Fried, INA collective bargaining and representation director, said 100% of the union nurses voted Saturday to keep the strike going.

“We’re feeling great. We’re strong, we’re steadfast,” Fried said.

The nurses went on strike Saturday after contract negotiations between INA and AMITA broke down. The union said they are pushing for more nurses on staff to provide safer care for patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AMITA said in a statement it stands ready to continue contract negotiations and a final offer was presented to INA on Friday that “addressed many of the issues under negotiation, including retention of extended illness benefits (EIB) and wage increases for years two and three of the contract — no three-year wage freeze — as well as tuition reimbursement and anniversary paid time off.”

Fried said on early Saturday morning the union gave AMITA a “very reasonable proposal” regarding the staffing at the hospital and haven’t received a response yet.

Fried said the union nurses have received donations from the community during the strike, such as water, ice, food and doughnuts.

“It’s just really heartening how the community has supported,” she said.

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