The Latest: Rauner says using contract nurses will save $8M
Mar. 21, 2017
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on the planned layoff of Illinois prison nurses (all times local):
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says it plans to lay off state prison nurses to "streamline" medical services and coordinate them with the current health care vendor.
Rauner's office informed the Illinois Nurses Association that in June it will lay off 124 nurses at 12 prisons. Their jobs would be privatized.
Nicole Wilson is spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. She says the administration will save $8 million by privatizing the jobs. She says medical provider Wexford Health Care Services is willing to hire most of the laid off nurses and the administration would locate vacancies in other departments for other displaced nurses.
Alice Johnson is executive director of the nurses association. She says Rauner is retaliating because union members rejected a tentative contract agreement last spring.
More than 100 nurses at Illinois prisons have received layoff notices telling them their jobs are being privatized.
The Associated Press obtained a letter Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration sent to Alice Johnson, executive director for the Illinois Nurses Association. It says the state will hire contract nurses and that the unionized nurses will be laid off June 15.
Johnson told the AP the layoffs are an attempt to "bully and intimidate" the nurses in retaliation for rejecting a contract agreement last year.
A spokeswoman for Rauner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Johnson says the administration has no authority for the action. The union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with state regulators last week. It demands that Rauner keep negotiating with the union.