UW Well being nurses and directors have reached a tentative settlement to avert a strike that was scheduled to begin Tuesday, a supply mentioned Sunday.
Gov. Tony Evers hosted the events on the governor’s mansion for “hours of negotiation,” the place they reached a proposed deal, a supply with data of the discussions mentioned.
Spokespeople for UW Well being and the union making an attempt to arrange the nurses, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, wouldn’t verify an settlement late Sunday afternoon.
On Sept. 3, UW Well being nurses gave directors an official discover of their plan to strike Sept. 13-16, saying they search high quality affected person care, protected staffing and recognition of their union.
The ten-day discover, required by labor legislation, got here after nurses mentioned the earlier week they voted to strike except UW Well being directors agreed to acknowledge and cut price with their union, a request they’ve been making since December 2019.
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“I am hanging to take a stand for high quality affected person look after my group and the well-being of frontline nurses,” Amanda Klinge, a nurse within the orthopedic trauma unit at UW Well being, mentioned in a press release. “When my nurse colleagues and I see doubtlessly preventable affected person care issues happen day after day due to excessive understaffing, it’s damaging to our psyche and our very soul.”
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin has mentioned UW nurses “have been fighting a harmful disaster of understaffing, turnover, cuts, exhaustion and burnout, which has been aggravated by the pandemic and places affected person care in danger.”
UW Well being mentioned the strike can be “disagreeable for sufferers and for our workers however we’ll get via it.” The group mentioned it was “guaranteeing affected person care is impacted as minimally as attainable” and a strike would “do nothing to change the authorized uncertainties surrounding the well being system’s means to collectively cut price.”
Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature laws, Act 10, banned collective bargaining for many public staff apart from cost-of-living pay will increase. On the time, UW Hospital directors mentioned the legislation abolished unions on the hospital despite the fact that they did not search that motion. In 2014, when a contract for about 2,000 nurses and therapists represented by SEIU expired, they misplaced the union.
In December 2019, shortly earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic started, nurses introduced they have been restarting the union and requested the UW Hospital Board to voluntarily acknowledge it. The board and hospital leaders have repeatedly mentioned the legislation does not permit them to acknowledge and cut price with the union.
In contrast to different public workers affected by Act 10, UW Hospital staff aren’t state or municipal workers. When the hospital grew to become a public authority separate from the college in 1996, it acquired its personal particular standing. How Act 10 and different legal guidelines apply to that standing has been the topic of varied authorized memos.
After two memos final yr from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council appeared to succeed in totally different conclusions, Democratic Legal professional Common Josh Kaul in June mentioned the hospital can contract with its workers and set their phrases of employment via a voluntary collective bargaining course of. Kaul’s nonbinding opinion got here on the request of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
UW Well being final week mentioned: “The Legal professional Common has mentioned he believes we are able to, however by his personal admission states that his opinion just isn’t legislation and that solely the courts or the legislature can present a conclusive reply.”
In January, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin mentioned it gave UW Well being CEO Dr. Alan Kaplan greater than 1,500 playing cards signed by nurses supporting a union. SEIU says 2,600 nurses at UW Hospital can be within the bargaining unit.