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UW Health nurses are calling for an independent union voice so we can advocate for ourselves, our families, our patients and our community.

 

We are dedicated registered nurses at UW Health who have risked our lives and our families’ lives to provide quality, compassionate care to our community during the pandemic. COVID-19 has intensified deep systemic problems at our hospital that have been worsening ever since management stopped recognizing our union. UW Health nurses used to have a strong union and a solid contract, but when our contract expired in 2014, management used the anti-worker law Wisconsin Act 10 as an excuse to not negotiate a new agreement. 

 

Since that time, management has implemented a wide range of cuts that have negatively impacted nurses and public health, including worsening nurse-to-patient staffing ratios; decreased continuing education benefits; increased healthcare costs; and reduced compensation, all resulting in difficulties recruiting and retaining qualified staff.

Recently, the nurses at Meriter hospital demonstrated that through their union, they can work with management effectively to solve urgent problems. They achieved a groundbreaking union contract which provides additional paid time off so they can heal from the pandemic, values their sacrifices, and ensures they have a strong voice in public health emergencies moving forward.

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UW Health nurses—those of us with the medical expertise who provide patient care—must have the same seat at the table through a union. The foremost labor law attorneys in the state have thoroughly examined the law and determined it is legally permissible for the UWHCA Board to recognize our union and start negotiating immediately. It is time for UW Health to hold a fair and fast union election, without delay or intimidation, so nurses can make our own decision.

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SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin 

SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin is the union that UW Health nurses originally belonged to, before the administration ceased recognition. They are the state’s largest and fastest-growing union of healthcare professionals, representing thousands of hospital, nursing home, home care, and social service employees. 

They are part of the Service Employees International Union, which is the largest healthcare union in America, with over 85,000 nurses and one million total members in the medical field. Their mission is to win quality care for all, and advocate for healthcare workers, our families and our communities.