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Warring Unions Make Up

Monday, February 23, 2009
Chicago Public Radio
by Gabriel Spitzer

Two competing unions are calling a truce over representing Cook County health care workers. They say they’ll work together to fight looming budget cuts.

Medical technicians and others were supposed to choose between rival unions today. Cook County nurses were to vote next week. But instead, the California Nurses Association and the Service Employees International Union have made up. The unions had long clashed over turf and philosophy.

Labor studies professor Bob Bruno, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, says the reconciliation is unusual.

BRUNO: It’s actually rather extraordinary that they have reached a settlement. I’m not aware of too many other jurisdictions in which they’ve decided to put their swords down and work as a unified representative.

SEIU said in a statement that threatened cutbacks at Cook County compel the unions to work together. SEIU will continue to represent technicians, service staff and doctors, while the California Nurses Association will still represent the nurses.


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