Ascension Gives Final Offer To Nurses In Joliet But Union Board Recommends Voting No

Nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph hospital in Joliet are expected to vote next week on a contract offer by Ascension Healthcare Company.

This would mark the first time since talks began last May that an offer has been made to the nurses who have been working without a contract since July of this year. John Fitzgerald with the Illinois Nurses Association tells WJOL that there is nothing in the contract that addresses staffing and there is a mandate for nurses to work outside of their expertise. There will be no retroactive pay and raises would not go into effect until February 2, 2024.
The offer is said to be Ascension’s “best and final offer.”  But it will likely not be approved as the executive union board is recommending nurses vote no to the offer.
Meanwhile, WJOL reached out to Ascension for a statement.

After eight months of good faith bargaining with Illinois Nurses Association (INA), yesterday, we provided INA with our last, best and final offer on the successor contract for our registered nurses (RNs).

We have listened and heard our nurses, and have held productive two-way conversations with their INA representatives. We agree there were issues to address, which we have done in our final proposal, including:

  • Increasing entry level wages by nearly 19% in year one of the contract to ensure market competitive levels and aid with recruitment as we continue to build up and support our care teams—with additional raises in years two and three of the contract.

  • Increasing middle tier wages nearly 17% in year one of the contract to assist with retention—as well as additional raises in years two and three—implementing a wage and incentive pay structure that will assist with creating a culture of associate longevity.

  • For our long-tenured nurses (30+ years), increasing our market wage rate over 2% in year one of the contract to align with our other Ascension Illinois hospitals. This represents a top of the scale wage rate that is in the 90th percentile for registered nurses in the region. This group, as well as our 20-29 year RNs, would also receive additional wage increases in years two and three of the contract, as well as lump sum bonuses. 

Unfortunately, every week that goes by is another week we are unable to implement these wage increases, which not only impacts each of our nurses, but also affects Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet’s ability to competitively hire and retain RNs from across the region. 

Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet is hopeful that the hard work of both the hospital and INA bargaining teams is recognized, and this offer is presented for ratification and approved, as we believe it is fair and respectful of the diverse needs of our registered nurses, and responsible as we continue to be good stewards and ensure a sustainable future for our non-profit hospital.