CHICAGO — A three-day strike is underway at Howard Brown Health Centers in Chicago.
The strike comes after a round of layoffs at one of the Midwest’s largest healthcare providers to the LGBTQ community. It has 11 locations on the North and West sides of Chicago. Howard Brown Health serves more than 40,000 adults and youth.
On Monday, the non-profit announced it had a $12 million budget shortfall and was implementing cost saving measures — that included the elimination of close to 65 positions.
In a press release, President and CEO of Howard Brown, David Ernesto Munar, said in part, “after looking at every option for cost saving measures, many which we have already started to implement, we are now taking the difficult but necessary actions to reduce expenses with reduction in workforce. The goal is to minimize the impact on our employees and maintain the high quality services that our patients expect and deserve.”
Howard Brown says the revenue shortfall comes from drastically reduced revenue due to changes in the federally negotiated drug discounts and reimbursement program, and the end of federal COVID-19 relief funding.
Howard Brown said it tried to negotiate a deal with the Illinois Nurses Union, but talks have stalled and they are at in impasse giving them the authority to implement the changes.
The Illinois Nurses Union said Howard Brown has violated 19 labor practices and is calling for an investigation. Union members said they will continue fighting until those laid off get their jobs back.
All 11 clinics are reportedly open Tuesday and taking patients. Although operating with a skeleton crew, they do plan to stay open throughout the three-day strike.