MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic lawmakers are advocating for nurses at UW Health seeking union rights.
State Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison) and Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) announced legislation Thursday that would give employees of the UW Hospitals and Clinics the authority to have a union voice.
"Every other hospital in the state nurses have the option to have a union voice. UW hospital is the only place where they do not," said Rep. Subeck.
Nurses say the “Union Voice for Quality Care at UW Health Act” is urgently needed to ensure they have a seat at the table to solve systemic problems which were exposed by the pandemic.
Cardiac ICU Nurse Courtney Maurer says the legislation will allow them to advocate effectively for themselves and their patients.
"Nurses are trained to act as patient advocates. But without a union we have no way to ensure that the voices of frontline caregivers are taken into account," Maurer said.
The act would grant UWHCA employees the statutory right to form a union and collectively bargain over their conditions of employment.
Governor Tony Evers included collective bargaining rights for public workers in his budget proposal, but the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee stripped them from the spending plan.