About a dozen union members stood outside Maryville Behavioral Health Hospital in Des Plaines Monday to support nurses in their five-day strike against the hospital's alleged unfair labor practices.
"They don't want to agree to anything," said Candi Van Zandt, a two-year veteran registered nurse at the hospital.
After unionizing with the Illinois Nurses Association, nurses have been locked in contract negotiations with the hospital over, in part, staffing levels and safety.
"It's an unsafe place to work," Vanzandt said, adding that she's been struck in the head by a patient.
Her colleague, Suzanne Braun, said a patient once stabbed her with a syringe near her throat.
"I like the place," said Braun, who's been a registered nurse at the hospital for nearly five years. "I'd like to stay."
Union leaders accuse the hospital of not engaging in good-faith negotiations and have already filed a now-settled unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
"I don't believe they have any real intention of reaching an agreement," said Matt Bartmes, lead negotiator for the INA.
But Maryville officials reject such claims, saying the hospital has reached 30 or so tentative agreements with nurses over the course of negotiations.
Sister Catherine Ryan, Maryville executive director, said the hospital simply does not have the money to meet the union's demands for salaries and added staffing.
"If we had additional dollars to do so, we would," Ryan said on Friday. "We're not going to have more revenue after the strike."firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @jbtribune