Strike becomes lockout as U. of C. Medical Center tells nurses to disperse

Hyde Park Herald

University of Chicago Medical Center nurses showed up to work Saturday morning [September 21, 2019] after their 24-hour strike, but the hospital administration, which contracted hundreds of replacement nurses through Wednesday, told them to go home.

More than 100 nurses represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses Union (NNOC/NNU) gathered outside the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM), 5758 S. Maryland Ave., as the sun rose.

Around 7:30, Kenneth Sparks, an attorney with the Vedder Price law firm, 222 N. LaSalle St., texted NNOC/NNU Midwest Director Marti Smith, saying that the crowd was blocking road access to DCAM.

“Patients need access,” he said. “Please disperse or move the crowd you have assembled across the roadway.” He said that the nurses were “well past” the end of their strike and that their chanting “and other confrontational activity” was in violation of the National Labor Relations Act and that his team reserved all rights.

“As you know, nurses are to report on Wednesday at 7 a.m., not today,” he said.

Smith, who had told the crowd that an administration official would come out to address the nurses, encouraged someone to do so. Sparks responded that their actions were unlawful and asked them to cease and desist.

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