I am the mother and sister of nurses at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, and I have heard firsthand about their struggles to provide quality patient care. Years before Covid hit, UW Health made dozens of damaging cuts to nurses’ staffing levels and benefits, which contributed to serious difficulties with recruitment and retention. Low staffing levels increase nurse burnout and can lead to unsafe patient care. The pandemic has only aggravated these long-standing systemic problems, creating an all-out crisis at UW Health.
UW nurses have been on the front lines for nearly two years now, and are suffering from extreme physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and trauma. Without a union, they’ve had no meaningful way to advocate for themselves and their patients.
This is the healthcare system where our family, friends and neighbors seek care, and it is also one of the only Level 1 Trauma Centers in the region. This is where people in our community and throughout much of the state get treatment for the sickest children, receive transplants and complex procedures, and are airlifted after an accident. Given the crucial role it plays in Wisconsin’s medical care, we count on UW Health to retain the most skilled and empathetic nurses, and set the highest standards for care delivery.
UW nurses have been by our side through this entire public health emergency. Now we all need to stand by them. A strong majority–over 1,500–have signed cards showing their support for a union. That’s why we are passionately urging the UW Health Board and administration to recognize the nurses’ union, so they can start working together toward urgent solutions that ensure the best quality patient care for our community.
Please join me in supporting my daughter, sister and all the dedicated nurses at UW Health.
-Kim Herman, Madison, WI
More Information: SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin