Howard Brown Health workers in Chicago prepare for strike

CHICAGO (WLS) — Hundreds of Howard Brown Health union workers are planning to go on strike for three days starting on January 3rd citing unfair labor practices.

“The issue here is that they are not investing in the South Side behavioral program and essentially they are also seemingly divesting in the South Side clinics,” Howard Brown Health Workers United member Shakia Flowers said.

Flowers is one of 60 workers who could be laid off as part of Howard Brown Health’s cost-cutting measures.

She said she’s the only behavioral health provider at the 63rd Street clinic.

The LGBTQ+ focused organization is working to close a revenue shortfall of $12 million, according to Howard Brown Health officials.

“We’re facing a real dilemma. We have seen revenue through this federally-negotiated pharmacy program dropped significantly in the last 6 months and we’re running a deficit,” Howard Brown Health President and CEO David Ernesto Munar said.

So Munar said Howard Brown Health has to change the way it operates across the city.

He emphasizes if a work stoppage happens next week, patient care won’t be compromised.

“We are making plans with our non-union staff and those that are willing to serve our patients to make sure that patient care is not interrupted. We’re a mission-based organization and that’s what’s most important,” Munar said.

Both sides remain at the bargaining table. A key sticking point for union workers is no layoffs.

“We still don’t believe as a union that they are financially necessary,” Illinois Nurses Association Organizer Margo Gislain said.

Workers plan to picket in front of several Howard Brown Health locations next week.

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