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Cook County registered nurses vote for strike

Thursday, March 02, 2006
AP Newsroom

(AP) Registered nurses who work for Cook County have voted to authorize a strike if negotiators fail to reach an agreement, union officials said Thursday.
Fernando Losada of the National Nurses Organizing Committee said the vote may motivate the county to listen to the nurses' concerns about pay and staffing levels when talks begin again Friday.

The union and the county have been negotiating since September.
Ninety-six percent of nurses voted to authorize a strike if an agreement can't be reached. Nearly 1,200 members voted during the past three days, Losada said.

"This is clearly an overwhelming mandate," he said.

The union represents about 1,800 Cook County registered nurses who work at hospitals, community clinics, public health offices and the Cook County Jail.
The county's nurses earn 7 to 8 percent less than the median pay in the area, Losada said.

Cook County officials have said negotiators have been bargaining in good faith, but they have declined to comment on the strike vote.



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