For two and a half years, Registered Nurses with University of Wisconsin (UW) Health have sought recognition for their union in their fight to improve patient care and working conditions at UW Health in Madison. The 2,600 nurses at this Level 1 Trauma Center have worked on the frontlines of healthcare through a global pandemic. Now, like so many of our nurses here in Minnesota and nationwide, they are raising their voices in collective power to demand changes necessary to protect patient care and keep nurses at the bedside.
Nurses are the experts at the bedside. We know what it takes to keep nurses on the job, with the working conditions and support necessary to persevere in this incredibly challenging and rewarding career. We are the ones at the bedside with patients, holding their hands in their most trying moments, and we know what it takes to ensure they receive the highest quality of care that they deserve.
Nurses at UW Health, like nurses in Minnesota, recognize that safe staffing levels are essential to protect quality patient care and a safe and sustainable working environment for nurses. Nurses are done waiting and are ready to do whatever it takes to win for our patients and our profession.
A union will allow UW Health nurses to better advocate for safe staffing levels and other changes needed to protect patient care. Studies have shown that unionized nurses are less likely to care for unsafe numbers of patients; less likely to leave or consider leaving the profession; and more likely to earn what they deserve. It is the responsibility of hospital executives to retain healthcare staff and ensure patient needs are met, and this union will help to ensure those standards are upheld.
UW Health nurses have stood strong and faced down a determined opponent. Hospital executives have attempted to block their unionization efforts at every turn. Just recently, the Wisconsin Attorney General ruled that UW Health could choose to recognize the nurses’ union, and UW executives again refused. As UW Health nurses weigh a possible strike to win recognition of their union and the changes they need in their hospital, the 22,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association proudly stand with you. We urge UW Health to voluntarily recognize your union for the sake of both nurses and patients at the bedside.
It is time to put Patients Before Profits in our healthcare system across this country. The power to make that change is in the hands of nurses in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and everywhere else.
Your fight is our fight, for the future of our healthcare system.