Unionized workers at the University of Chicago Medical Center have voted down a proposed labor contract, citing concerns over benefits and subcontracting issues.
The contract with Teamsters Local 743 covers nearly 1400 clerical, service and maintenance workers at the medical center.
“We ... feel our members deserve more,” says Teamsters Local 743 representative J Burger.
Union representative Burger says the union wants contract language prohibiting sub-contracting. He also says that under the hospital’s proposal, “the healthcare increases are too high and the wages are too low.”
The university released a statement today expressing disappointment in the voting, which wrapped up Friday.
The contract was “a very fair offer, especially in light of the current economic downturn,” the statement says.
“Many businesses, including hospitals, implemented significant layoffs in 2009 and have reduced salaries, benefits and working hours for those who remain,” the statement says. “While many healthcare organizations are seeking concessions and salary reductions from their union members, the Medical Center offered union members increases in 2009, 10 and 11.”
The union says it hopes to go back to the bargaining table with the hospital. However, last week's vote did authorize a strike if necessary, says Burger.
The hospital says it will “continue normal operations and explore all options to allow us to deliver quality patient care under any circumstances.”