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Local 743 Demands UCMC Respect its Essential Frontline Workers, Offer a Fair Contract


While Hospital Leaders at the University of Chicago Medical Center Praise Frontline Workers as ‘Heroes,’ They Refuse to Back That up When it Comes to Fair Wages and a New Contract

Press Contact: Jake Berent Phone: (847) 440-6183 Email:

(CHICAGO, Ill.) – Teamsters Local 743 is demanding the University of Chicago Medical Center bargain in good faith and show its frontline workers the respect they deserve through a fair contract. Local 743 has met with UCMC negotiators 26 times since June 2021, and throughout the bargaining process UCMC has asked for major concessions while offering minimal wage increases and improvements in working conditions.

While UCMC officials continue to praise frontline essential workers for their courage, bravery, and perseverance, they continue to disrespect them by demanding Teamsters Local 743 accept the elimination of daily overtime pay and other concessions. Local 743 President Debra-Simmons Peterson is calling on UCMC leadership to come to the bargaining table and give these healthcare heroes the fair contract they deserve.

“Just last month UCMC posted another video to their channel where UCMC leadership is praising its essential workers as ‘heroes’. But when it comes to treating them like ‘heroes’, UCMC comes up short. It’s time to stop paying our members lip-service, and reward them like the heroes they are,” Simmons-Peterson said. “So many of our UCMC Teamster Brothers and Sisters work in areas where they have a greater chance of exposure to COVID-19 and many have contracted the virus, putting themselves and their families at risk. Hundreds of them have contracted COVID-19 at work, and several have died. Our members’ sacrifices will not be in vain. They deserve to be compensated for the critical, life-saving work they have done and will continue to do.”

Teamsters Local 743 represents nearly 2,000 workers at UCMC, ranging in positions from medical technicians to housekeeping and clerical staff. UCMC and Local 743 were set to bargain over a new contract when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Wanting to do their part to help out in a global crisis, Local 743 agreed to delay bargaining and extended the previous contract to keep the focus on providing essential healthcare services. Local 743 members have not received a wage increase in over two years.

“A lot of our members are the main source of income for their families, and some work at UCMC part-time to make ends meet. They’ve worked hard to provide for their families and deserve to be paid like it. This has been frustrating because we helped UCMC out when the pandemic first began. And now they ask the very same frontline workers who kept the Medical Center running, to sacrifice important benefits they currently receive for their hard work. It’s just not right,” Simmons-Peterson said.

Teamsters Local 743 represents more than 6,000 health care workers at various hospitals and clinics in the Chicago area. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Health Care Division represents more than 50,000 health care workers nationwide.