Madison, WI – Nurses at Meriter Hospital in Madison represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are coming to what could be their final bargaining session with management from UnityPoint Health.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, many of the 850 nurses represented at Meriter Hospital had to use up all or most of their paid time off due to being sick or exposed to the coronavirus. Nurses at Meriter continue to be pressured to work longer hours and extra shifts due to staffing shortages.
A press conference was held March 19 to support these essential frontline health care workers. Speakers included religious leaders, executive board members of the NAACP, nurses at nearby UW-Hospital. Union leaders from across all trades and crafts – such as the construction trades, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), public school teachers, and Teamsters in package delivery – expressed support and solidarity and demanded that management come to fair terms with the nurses of Meriter Hospital.
“We need to stand up for our nurses because they stand up for us every day,” said Michael Jones of Madison Teachers Incorporated, a union representing many workers employed by the Madison Metropolitan School District. “I have students who want to be nurses. What kind of system are we sending people into when their rights and their humanity are not being supported?”
In the event of a strike, workers are encouraged not to cross their picket line, or offer management in Meriter Hospital any service or assistance until a contract is signed.
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