ILLINOIS (KFVS) - An Illinois lawmaker is working to pass legislation that would prevent the Illinois Department of Corrections from laying off more than 100 nurses across the state.
Jerry Costello introduced Senate Bill 19 which would stop IDOC from reducing the number of medical and mental health employees.
According to Costello's office, the Illinois Nurses Association was notified in March that the IDOC planned to lay off 124 nurses at 12 correctional centers across the state. The group reportedly plans to rehire them or fill the positions through a private subcontractor.
"It is fundamentally unfair to tell registered nurses in the Illinois Department of Corrections they are going to be fired, but they can come back to work and do the exact same job for less pay and no pension," said Alice Johnson, Executive Director, Illinois Nurses Association. "These nurses have dedicated their careers to providing patient care in an extremely difficult setting. Their knowledge and loyalty are assets to the department and to the people of Illinois. Smart employers are competing for experienced registered nurses, not laying them off. Ultimately, cutting quality health care staff does not save money, as cuts diminish the quality of care, and that leads to lawsuits against the state."
The measure passed the house and senate and is now on Governor Bruce Rauner's desk.