Nurses and other employees at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home have voted to unionize.
National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 4, certified the union after a vote by employees, the Illinois Nurses Association announced.
The union at the nursing home covers more than 70 employees, including nurses, support staff, housekeeping, maintenance and dietary staff, the INA said.
“This is the INA’s first wall-to-wall unit, and the largest unit organized by INA in a decade,” the union said in a news release.
The INA also represents nurses at Ascension Saint Joseph – Joliet hospital.
Nurse Jean De Lay at Our Lady of Angels said the unionization effort was motivated by repeated changes in management that left workers worried about their jobs.
“It’s just all the changes we’ve been through,” De Lay, who has worked at Our Lady of Angels for 20 years, said Friday. “I think with a union we have more voice. That’s one of the reasons we formed the union.”
Our Lady of Angels opened in 1962. The facility at 1201 Wyoming Ave. provides a variety of levels of care.
Attempts to reach management on Friday were unsuccessful.
The Our Lady of Angles website lists Adrian Avila as the administrator. An employee who answered the phone, however, said Avila no longer works there. Calls were forwarded to a voicemail and were not returned.
De Lay that there has been a recent change in the management company that operates the facility, which has occurred a number of times.
“I love taking care of my patients,” De Lay said. “It’s just that through the years we’ve seen so many changes. You get to the point where you’ve had enough.”
She said workers began to organize to form the union in February.
According to the INA release, two-thirds of the workers supported a petition for a union election that was filed on May 27.
“The workers will now be seeking to negotiate a fair contract that recognizes the value of their contributions to the health and well-being of their residents and the Joliet community,” the release said.
INA Executive Director Julia Bartmes in the release described the union as “a major step forward for OLA workers who have endured years of poor working conditions, including chronic understaffing and turnover, unlivable wages, and uncertain and unclear policies due to frequent changes in management.”