Teamsters, U of C hospital continue talks

August 24, 2009: "We're prepared to be here all night if we have to."

That was the latest word from Teamsters Local 743's Catherine Schutzius, chief negotiator in the union's bargaining with administrators at the University of Chicago Medical Center. I called her nearly two hours after her meeting with managers there was scheduled to begin yesterday afternoon.

The union is negotiating over wages and health-care benefits for about 1,400 of its members at the hospital. The workers, who include clerical, service and maintenance employees at the medical center, say they deserve better than what's on the table. But hospital officials say it's a tough time for business, pointing to budget cuts and layoffs at the hospital earlier this year.

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