Lawmakers join UW nurses in call to allow union

MADISON, Wis. — Nurses and Democratic lawmakers are advocating for employees at UW hospitals and clinics to have a union voice.

State Senator Melissa Agard and Representative Lisa Subek joined nurses to introduce the “Union Voice for Quality Care at UW Health Act” Thursday afternoon.

They say the goal is to give nurses and employees a seat at the table to solve systemic problems that emerged even before the pandemic.

“I was the chair of a shared governance council for years, sometimes attending three meetings a month with executive or nursing leaders. Almost all the issues of substance that nurses cared about, including safe staffing, were not addressed by this group,” UW Health ICU nurse Courtney Maurer said.

UW Nurses have not had a recognized union since 2014, and the UW Hospitals and Clinics authority board has not negotiated a new agreement, citing Act 10.

The legislation would grant UW Health employees the right to form a union and collectively bargain over the conditions of their employment.