KENWOOD — More than 80 employees at eight community clinics voted to unionize Thursday.
The medical and dental assistants, clerical workers and record keepers voted 52-29 to join SEIU Local 73 during an election Thursday at Komed Holman Health Center, 4259 S. Berkeley Ave.
“As frontline support staff, we are often the first contact patients have at Near North. We take care of the community, and we want to make sure they receive the best possible care,” said Deborah Langford, a medical assistant at a Near North Health Services clinic.
Near North Health Services operates eight community clinics across the city, including Komed Holman, Kostner Health Center at 1520 N. Kostner Ave., Uptown Community Health Center at 4867 N. Broadway Ave., Winfield Moody Health Center at 1276 North Clybourn Ave. and others.
A representative for the management at the clinics declined to comment.
The vote to unionize is effective immediately. Employees now can go through a grievance process to mediate problems, and management has higher hurdles to overcome before firing or laying off employees.
Workers will be able to collectively negotiate the terms of their employment after a bargaining team is elected.
Professional employees, including phlebotomists and case managers, were not involved in the vote and, along with the doctors and nurses, are not members of the union.