Nurses Authorize Strike; Hong Kong Program Continues | Newsletter for September 3

Nurses at the UChicago Medical Center voted last week to allow their union to call a one-day strike at any time.

By Deepti Sailappan, Lee Harris, and Elaine Chen

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Good morning. Welcome back from Labor Day Weekend.

Nurses at the UChicago Medical Center voted last week to allow their union, National Nurses United (NNU), to call a one-day strike at any time.

  • The move comes as UChicago Medicine continues negotiations with NNU following the expiration of the union’s contract with the hospital in April.
  • Nurses rallied outside the hospital in July. NNU also filed ongoing complaints with federal and state agencies, alleging that UChicago Medicine isn’t keeping adequate records of workplace injuries and that staffing levels are below Illinois mandates.

Hong Kong: As a months-long pro-democracy movement shows no sign of letting up, the University has continued to run its inaugural September study abroad program in Hong Kong focused on human rights.

  • The University has been telling program participants to stay close to or on campus, participants who are now there said.
  • Stanford has cancelled its Hong Kong study abroad program this fall—also an inaugural program—in light of the ongoing protests.
  • United Airlines has suspended its daily direct flights between Chicago and Hong Kong due to “reduced demand.”

A UChicago College student died last week, one month before he would have begun his senior year.

  • Nishant Aggarwal was immersed in many organizations and activities on campus, including the Paul Douglas Institute, the University’s New Venture Challenge, and the Modus Vivendi Society.
  • Editor’s Note: We hope to follow up with an obituary memorializing Nishant’s life and his time as a member of the University community. We ask anyone who has memories they want to share about Nishant to please contact us at

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, a Harris School alumnus, announced his campaign to challenge Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination last week.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will speak at the Harris School of Public Policy on September 9.

Construction manager for the Obama Presidential Center, the Lakeside Alliance, announced at a community meeting last week that construction on the center is set to start in spring 2020. They expect the center to be completed by fall 2023.

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In café news:

Philz Coffee opened its doors at 53rd and Blackstone last week.

  • The San Francisco–based coffee chain will offer trendy California dishes and drinks like avocado toast and its signature mint mojito coffee, along with more traditional beverages.

A new Woodlawn coffee shop called the Green Living Room also opened last week.

  • Located on 64th and South Cottage Grove, the coffee shop will also provide small business support and green job training and will host community meetings.

Fabiana’s Bakery will close its Hyde Park location and relocate to another spot on the South Side, the neighborhood cake shop announced last week in a Facebook post.

  • The relocation comes on the heels of Sanctuary Café’s closing. Sanctuary had replaced Fabiana’s as the coffee shop in University Church.

In Viewpoints

Editor Meera Santhanam writes in:

Matt Andersson argues that in light of the recent hike in undergraduate tuition, the University must fully disclose its operating costs and discretionary expenses.

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