Howard Brown Health Makes Progress Toward New Union Contract

(Chicago, IL, September 15, 2023) – After 10 months of negotiations, Howard Brown Health and its workers represented by the Illinois Nurses Association have tentatively agreed to more than three dozen provisions for a first-time contract that will cover nearly 400 administrative, clinical, and retail employees.

“As an organization seeking to advance health equity for all, we recognize that our mission and our union’s mission are aligned,” said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO. “We are confident that we will reach a mutually agreeable contract, ensuring a strong partnership with our workforce that will improve our ability to provide vital, equitable health care access to our community.”

Howard Brown officials continue to meet with union representatives to seek agreement on a draft contract. To date, Howard Brown has proposed:

  • 4.5% base wage increase this year and a 3% base wage increase next year;
  • $1,200 bonus payable to all union-represented staff within 30 days of contract ratification;
  • New minimum wage rate of $19.23 (living wage for Cook County as defined by the MIT Living Wage Calculator);
  • Group health insurance coverage for regular part-time employees;
  • Evening and weekend pay differentials;
  • Overtime for shifts exceeding 10 hours;
  • 10 paid holidays each year; and
  • Additional vacation for tenured employees.

Howard Brown has also proposed: a joint management and union committee to develop a wage scale and structure that ensures internal equity and considers relevant market factors; to meet regularly with the union to achieve a shared goal of affordable, quality healthcare coverage; and to have standing labor/management meetings to ensure an ongoing, productive dialogue. Howard Brown intends to partner closely with its union on matters affecting the workforce as part of its ongoing commitment as a proud unionized nonprofit.

“Our union-represented staff have told us that they want to be a part of the decision-making process,” said Munar. “Our proposals move us away from the paradigm of ‘management vs. non-management,’ instead increasing dialogue and partnership with all of our staff, welcoming their input on how we move forward together in serving our community.”

Following challenges in the negotiation process, including the organization resolving a $12 million revenue shortfall and the subsequent reinstatement of union-represented staff, Howard Brown is postponing a gala celebrating the opening of its new Halsted facility in order to focus resources on the achievement of a first contract.

“This is a pivotal moment in our history,” said Katie Metos, Vice President of External Relations. “Our new Halsted building will be a cornerstone for our entire community. Our Board and staff leadership agree we must pause any celebrations to focus on contract negotiations with our union-represented staff. Doing so will ensure delivery of high-quality, affirming care for our patients and community across our network of clinics.”

The newly constructed clinic, which is the culmination of nearly five years of planning and fundraising from our community, will serve as an anchor destination for LGBTQ+ people on the historic North Halsted corridor. The clinic will address appointment access issues within the agency’s North Side care system, expanding access to affirming medical and dental services to over 23,000 patients a year, regardless of their ability to pay.

“When we gather in the new clinic building to celebrate, we will honor current and future opportunities to serve our community and the thousands of dedicated employees whose efforts have galvanized our mission over the past five decades,” said Munar. “We believe that our next step towards advancing health equity in our community must be a strong partnership with our union-represented staff.”


Rooted in LGBTQ+ liberation, Howard Brown Health provides affirming healthcare and mobilizes for social justice as an agent of change for individual wellbeing and community empowerment. Howard Brown envisions a future where healthcare and transformative social policies actualize human rights and equity for all. Howard Brown offers primary care, behavioral health, and social services at 11 clinics across the city, regardless of ability to pay.

Learn more about progress toward a contract at

Media Inquiries:
Wren O’Kelley, Associate Director of Communications and Marketing


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