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Stroger Hospital workers protest overtime cap

Friday, July 01, 2005
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman

About 50 workers from Stroger Hospital protesting understaffing and overtime cuts picketed outside the hospital Thursday before marching into to health chief Daniel Winship's office to demand a meeting.

The technicians, custodians and food-service workers — all members of the Service Employees International Union — are upset about the Cook County Board's recent decision to limit overtime to 20 hours a week for each employee, union president Byron Hobbs said.

"It makes it problematic to provide quality patient care," Hobbs said. "We want them to restore the overtime that was once available or fill the vacancies. This is not an economic issue for us."

Stroger Hospital is continuously operating at 95 percent to 100 percent of capacity. Patients who need hospitalization wait hours for a room. Patients needing prescriptions from the pharmacies are waiting up to a week.

Workers also wanted to push the county on stalled contract talks, Hobbs said. Workers have been without a contract since November, and the county has not yet made an offer on wages, he said.

Health bureau spokeswoman Rendy Jones declined to comment.



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