About 900 Cook County nurses went on strike Thursday, protesting what they say are chronic staff shortages.
Nurses, who are planning a one-day protest, said they were at “breaking point”.
Nurses were on the picket lines at Stroger Hospital and other health facilities in Cook County on Thursday morning.
There are about 1,200 employed nurses in the county, union representatives said. But the Illinois Labor Relations Board ruled earlier this week that 380 nurses could not join the strike in the interests of public safety. A court ruling on Wednesday lowered that number slightly. Nurses are represented by the National Nursing Organizing Committee.
A spokeswoman for Cook County Health said that in anticipation of the strike, some elective and “non-urgent” procedures or appointments have been rescheduled. The remaining patients will receive online appointments. Cook County Health is also planning to bring in additional “agency nurses” to reinforce the trauma and emergency department staff.
About 2,500 county employees – guards, technicians and administrative staff – are expected to quit their jobs on Friday. Workers represented by SEIU Local 73 have been negotiating a new contract for months. The sticking points of wages and health insurance premiums.