The future of Our Lady of Angels in Joliet remains in limbo. Last week, WJOL reported the nursing and retirement home was likely to close as early as January first of the new year. Sister Jean Bessette chair of the Board for Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home confirmed that OLA may close but no timetable established.
But then the Illinois Nurses Association steps in offering a possible lifeline to OLA. Nurses and aides at OLA voted to unionize last August. A scheduled meeting between INA and OLA was held on Thursday, October 20th.
John Fitzgerald with INA tells WJOL that the first question they asked representatives of Our Lady of Angels was, “Do you want to stay open?” OLA said they have no objections to staying open if they are financially viable.
Fitzgerald says workers have developed ideas to save money but understands that isn’t enough. Possible fundraisers for capital improvements for OLA was one of the suggestions by the Union.
Renovating OLA may be out of the question considering there is asbestos in the building. In June of this year, there was discussion of building another facility on the property on Wyoming.
Sister Jean Bessette, president of Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, and chair of the Board for Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home, last week, was scheduled to be on WJOL but canceled saying they were in negotiations with the Illinois Nurses Association.
Fitzgerald says they hop to release a joint statement. OLA told INA that closing is not a retaliatory move against the union. Fitzgerald was unaware that the nuns were quietly told over two weeks ago that they may need to move and have already given options of area nursing homes.
Fitzgerald says they want to work together to see an opportunity to increase revenue and keep OLA open, and workers working.