CHICAGO — Hundreds of employees for a health care system, that’s been a longtime provider of care to the LGBTQ community, are striking Tuesday.

This strike is happening in the shadow of negotiations for the very first union contract for a majority of the employees at Howard Brown Health. 

This contract would cover about 360 of the nearly 600 employees of Howard Brown at its six clinics, three Brown Elephant thirft store locations, The Broadway Youth Center and some of the workers at Howard Brown headquarters in Uptown.

The union says that Howard Brown management recently made its “last, best, and final offer.“ It included pay raises of at least 4 1/2% for higher paid staff, and upwards of 19% for some of its lowest paid staff. That amounts to a few dollars extra an hour.

It also includes an extra paid day off. 

But the union says Howard Brown can afford to do more and also needs to treat all locations, both North and South sides, equally.

In a lengthy statement, Howard Brown said that patients who have appointments over the next two days of this strike will be seen.  

The statement reads, in part: “Whether or not our staff choose to join the picket line this week, we will be ready on Thursday to come together and continue to serve our community in the ways that we know no one else can. The reason we all have chosen to join Howard Brown is our shared mission of providing culturally competent, affirming care to our patients and community members.”