On Thursday, Jan. 13, 11 UW Health nurses met with UW Health System CEO Alan Kaplan and presented him with over 1,500 cards signed by nurses showing strong majority support for a union voice. According to the union, more than 100 other nurses stood outside the meeting holding supportive signs to show their unity. Nurses told Kaplan that it is imperative for the UWHCA Board and administration to recognize their union voice so they can work together to solve the growing crisis at UW Health and ensure safe, quality patient care.
In the meeting with Dr. Kaplan, nurses described the crisis at UW Health, and how it is affecting themselves, their families and their ability to care for their patients. Nurses noted that over many years, UW Health executives have implemented a series of harmful cuts, including to nurses’ staffing levels, health insurance and continuing education benefits, resulting in severe difficulties with recruitment and retention.
The union noted that while state law specifically did not require the hospital to recognize the union, that there is nothing in state law which prevents the hospital from voluntarily recognizing the union.
In response to the question- ‘what will be the union’s next steps should the UW Hospitals and Clinics not agree to recognize the union?’ in an e-mail to Labor Radio, a union spokesperson said “We’re not sharing specifics right now, but there will be actions dramatically ramping up inside and outside the hospital soon”.
Reporting by Frank Emspak
Sound cloud photo courtesy Felipe Gacharna on Flickr. Featured image from December 2019, courtesy Chali Pittman/WORT News.