The Chicago Journal

Lurie Children’s Hospital dispute over unionization

Lurie Children’s Hospital is one of the best hospitals in Chicago, but there has been a dispute between nurses and management.

Nurses from Lurie are at odds with management after receiving what they describe as anti-union messages.

The news

Leaders of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago recently told nurses forming a union was unnecessary.

Leaders sent a letter signed by the hospital’s head nurse and assistant head nurse.

According to the letter, nurses do not need a union to speak on their behalf.

In addition, the administration is concerned about the impact of a union on the work culture.

Management sent the letter earlier this month.

The last few years have been some of the busiest at Lurie Children’s Hospital as the pandemic has taken a toll and tested the healthcare system.

Among the challenges the hospital face were:

  • Staffing shortage
  • Higher-than-normal patient-to-nurse ratios
  • Burnout

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A Lurie nurse spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times and requested anonymity.

They worked at the hospital for nearly two decades, over 16 years.

“You feel as if you’re a bad nurse because you are limited in the time you can spend with each of your patients,” said the nurse.

“Lurie nurses strive to give the best care we can give, and that really hits us at our heart when we feel like we can’t give that.”

The hospital’s response

Meanwhile, Lurie Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Julianne Bardele said the hospital respects workers’ organization rights.

However, she noted that unionization could significantly impact the work environment.

“Like most pediatric healthcare organizations, Lurie Children’s has faced challenges that have made nursing harder,” said Bardele.

“But we remain committed to working directly with our workforce to address concerns and to continue to foster a culture built on mutual respect and shared dedication to providing a healthier future for every child.”

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Executives and directors of Lurie Children’s Hospital ignored concerns nurses tried to discuss issues relating to staffing and improving working conditions.

“Every month, we will sit down and go through issues,” said another Lurie nurse of six years.

“I brought up some issues that I was concerned about, and my director was… I wouldn’t say yelling, but she got very short with me.”

According to the nurses, they felt discouraged and even threatened by management when they received the letter.

They also said they wanted the letter to at least add some compromises.

Lurie’s experienced nurse elaborated and said:

“[Some of the phrases used in the letter] really made us feel little because many of us have spoken and continue to speak and have gone those routes and avenues that they talked about in that letter, and then it’s crickets afterward.”


Lurie Children’s Hospital nurses at odds with management over potential to unionize