CHICAGO — Layoff letters have been sent to more than 200 Cook County hospital network employees, a county spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.
In a letter dated Sep. 30, affected employees were told, "you are being notified that your position has been identified for elimination effective November 30, 2016," according to a document obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.
Alexandra Normington, a spokeswoman with Cook County Health and Hospital Systems, said the county plans to eliminate 320 positions by the end of this year. Nearly 100 of those positions are already vacant.
A Stroger Hospital employee who asked to remain anonymous said nurses, translators, electrocardiogram technicians and computer technicians were among those who received layoff letters.
The employee said the layoffs were particularly upsetting because "we're already short-staffed, and we've been working short-staffed for a long time."
The hospital network's 2017 budget calls for adding 450 new jobs "in key areas," Normington said, adding that the transition will allow Cook County "to adapt to the changing health care environment as a modern health system, build new expertise in some areas and add additional capacity in others."
On Thursday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle proposed a penny-an-ounce tax on pop and other sweetened beverages to help avoid drastic layoffs across the county. The move came as part of her 2017 budget proposal, which included roughly 300 layoffs and the elimination of 300 empty positions.
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