UIC Hospital Workers Take to Picket Line

Union said the strike will be for three days so patient care isn't affected

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    Medical staff from the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center on Wednesday walked off the job and kicked off a three-day strike.

    The workers, from the Service Employees international Union Local 73, are demanding a contract and increased pay.

    "Many of us have not seen a wage increase in six years, and we feel we are not valued and respected on the job," said communications specialist Diana Thomas in a written statement. "We are on strike to show our value to the University and gain respect for all Professionals."

    The employees are support staff members, including medical technicians, therapists and some nurses who visit patients in their own homes. It does not include doctors and nurses at the hospital, the union said. 

    The staffers have been in contract negotiations since unionizing in November 2010. Those talks appear to not be making progress.

    The union said the strike will be for three days so patient care isn't affected. It includes employees at UIC as well as well as approximately 100 employees in the Division of Specialized Care for Children in 13 regional offices across the state.

    UIC officials said they are committed to negotiating a contract that is "fair to our employees and fiscally responsible."