Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 1:31pm
Madison and Dane County elected officials today delivered a message to leaders of the area’s second largest employer: it’s time to sit down with union representatives and find ways to work together in the future.
Madison alders Lisa Subeck and David Ahrens were joined by Dane County Board Chair John Hendrick as they visited Wednesday’s UW Hospital and Clinics Authority board meeting. They delivered pro-union petitions with over 1,800 signatures from community members.
“It’s very clear that this community values the work done by front-line employees and – just as importantly -- believes that they are at their best when they have a strong voice in the workplace. We believe you need to find ways to maintain the union voice at UW Hospital,” Subeck told the board.
Nearly 5,000 UWHC employees could lose union representation this year when their contracts expire, unless UWHC leaders work with union leaders to establish a framework to preserve an independent voice for UWHC employees.
Leaders for the city of Madison and Dane County have taken action to preserve a positive relationship with unions representing their workers despite efforts by state politicians to silence unions by passing the controversial Act 10.
“If you value and respect the role that unions have played in making UW Hospital a beacon of quality, simply throwing up your hands and blaming Act 10 is not acceptable. If you value the relationship you will find a way to maintain it, just as we did in Dane County,” Hendrick said.
Act 10 has produced waves of resignations, unfilled vacancies and rock-bottom morale in state institutions where it already is in place. “We believe it would be irresponsible to not explore every avenue possible to keep this from happening to UWHC,” Subeck said.
“We ask you to engage with union representatives and seek a remedy for the radical change that is being imposed from outside this institution,” Hendrick said.