Illinois Nurses Association files grievance against state, IDOC for hiring subcontractors


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The union representing 3,600 nurses across Illinois has filed a formal complaint against the state and the Department of Corrections. This comes after IDOC hired subcontractors to fill roles that were vacant for months during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Nurses Association says that decision left many union members out of the equation.

The Department of Central Management Services contacted INA members about this change on December 11. Within a week, contracted nurses were already in IDOC facilities. The union submitted their complaint on December 16 on behalf of registered nurses working in the facilities. They believe the state bypassed their collective bargaining agreement by hiring the subcontractors.

"When we’re looking at background checks to bring in proper nurses taking months – three months plus – and you can bring in agency nurses in less than a week, I had some serious questions and concerns about that," said Registered Nurse Tori Dameron. The Quincy native also serves as the INA Secretary.

Illinois is offering up to $185 per hour for the subcontracted agency nurses, meaning some could make $10,000 per week.

"That is more than they are salaried for in a month, some of them maybe two months," Dameron added.

Pandemic pay gone

The state also recently repealed the 12% pay increase for nurses working during the pandemic. Dameron says CMS officials told the union this was "an economic issue" and they didn’t have the money to continue pandemic pay.

"My nurses now say, ‘Are we not worth it?’ or ‘Why are we being shamed? Now I have to babysit somebody while they’re making $10 grand a week,’" said Union Representative Hector Rosa Jr.

He says the agency nurses also need constant help from INA nurses to open doors. This issue comes as nurses can’t receive keys unless they pass a background check. Rosa Jr. explained many nurses were already working 24-hour shifts in an effort to prevent the need for subcontractors.

"This is how I also know that the state never talked to any of these nurses about wanting agency nurses," Rosa Jr. said.

The union is asking management to remove the subcontracted nurses and fill the vacancies with their members immediately.

The Capitol Bureau reached out to the Illinois Department of Corrections for a statement in response to the issue. They have not responded at this time.

The post Illinois Nurses Association files grievance against state, IDOC for hiring subcontractors appeared first on WGEM.

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via WGEM

December 29, 2020 at 07:31PM

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