Nurses strike

Notes from the 7/08/21 issue

Nurses strike

About 900 nurses and thousands of hospital staff picketed Cook County Health (CCH) and its affiliated facilities on June 24. The nurses and affiliated union workers say the hospitals are greatly understaffed and are demanding investment toward higher pay and more staff during a pandemic that still lingers. John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, the flagship of CCH, has one of the busiest level-one trauma centers in the nation and treats more gunshot victims than any other hospital in Chicago. Historically, they serve mostly marginalized populations in the city. Still, nurses and staff feel as though they are not being paid wages that are inline with the amount of hard work they do. On June 24, the nurses striked for a day, but other hospital staff such as clerks and environmental workers are continuing to strike. Following the actions, Cook County Health approved a four-year contract to handle lack of staff and other concerns voiced by the union. These changes include hiring hundreds of staff and potential pay increases. 

 

Cook County Jail demolition

Division 1 and 1a of Cook County Jail—the row of unused century-old buildings next to the Criminal Courthouse and parallel to the jail wall—are getting demolished to cut expensive maintenance costs and given the relatively significant drop in the jail population. When the announcement was initially made, La Villita residents had a panicked flashback to the botched demolition of the coal plant smokestack a year ago, but officials assured residents that explosives would not be used. Buildings are being taken apart “precisely and piece by piece,” officials said, and water systems will control air-borne dust. Air monitors have been installed and residents can check for updates online. The job is expected to be completed by February 2022.

 

Miracle Boyd case

On June 29, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) delivered its findings to Superintendent Brown from an investigation of a Chicago Police officer who attacked Good Kids MadCity organizer Miracle Boyd in July 2020, after a demonstration at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. COPA’s finding said the officer, whom the Weekly first identified via Freedom of Information Act requests as Nicholas Jovanovich, “extended his left arm and struck Ms. Boyd’s cell phone from her hand, causing the phone to hit her face which resulted in several injuries.” The Weekly sued COPA in March after it refused to release body-camera video of the attack in response to our FOIA request, and hearings are pending. As of May 27, COPA’s position was that producing the records would interfere with a pending law enforcement proceeding and active administrative enforcement proceeding. COPA’s role in that proceeding is now complete. 

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