Iowa City, IA – Following a two-week virtual voting period, nurses and other healthcare professionals at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics voted overwhelmingly to recertify their union with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa. 98.6% voted “yes” to maintain their union with 57% of members taking part in the election.
The vote covered over 3,800 nurses and professionals at UIHC who had to take time from their work caring for Iowa patients to vote to keep their Union because of anti-worker legislation in Iowa that requires any public sector union to turn out a majority of the workers every two years or the union and contract are dissolved.
Alex Kestrel, a new RN who has worked at UIHC for four years, shared why it is so important for healthcare workers to have the collective power of a union:
“I’m really excited we’re keeping our union because I care about fair pay for all of the nurses and healthcare workers at UIHC. Healthcare facilities across the country are facing staffing issues caused by nursing shortages. Maintaining our union will help make sure we have the pay to keep the best nurses and healthcare staff to take care of Iowa families.”
Frontline healthcare workers stepped up during COVID and kept Iowa families safe. As voting wrapped up, workers shared why being able to stand up for patient safety with the collective power of a union is so important to workers and patients.
Heather Ford, a RN geriatric psych at UIHC, connected patient safety to nurses having a union to stand up for what is right:
"My job as a nurse is to advocate for my patients when they cannot. As an individual nurse, being part of the union means that we have a stronger voice to advocate for improvements and fair treatment."
Barbara Stanerson PT, MHS at UIHC and Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa, shared her excitement after the votes were counted and looked forward to the next fight for healthcare workers:
"I'm proud our group once again voted overwhelmingly to keep our union and protect our contract so we can get back to the work we want to be doing: caring for our patients. Having to do this vote to appease anti-worker law does nothing to help patients, but healthcare workers have shown once again that we are not going away. In fact, we keep getting stronger and are ready to build even more power for Iowa families. This vote also shows that SEIU members at UIHC are ready to negotiate our next contract to ensure we can continue to provide world-class care for Iowa families."
The SEIU Healthcare Minnesota & Iowa members plan to take the momentum from this big win into bargaining for the group's next union contract where they will continue the push to make sure essential workers at UIHC who care for Iowa families are respected, protected and paid.