Representative Lisa Subeck Calls on UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority to Voluntarily Recognize Nurses Union

MADISON – Today, in response to an opinion released yesterday by Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) is calling on the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority (UWHCA) board to voluntarily recognize the union already supported by a majority of UW nurses and to collectively bargain with the union in good faith. The Attorney General’s opinion concluded that the UWHCA has the authority to voluntarily recognize and engage in collective bargaining with an organization chosen by the majority of nurses it employs.

“Our nurses are there for us, day in and day out, providing vital healthcare when we need it the most,” said Rep. Subeck “Our community depends on our UW nurses, and the least we can do in return is allow them a voice in their workplace.”

In May of last year, Representative Subeck and Senator Melissa Agard introduced the Union Voice for Quality Care at UW Health Act (AB 404), which would have clarified the law, providing UWHCA nurses clear statutory authority to form a union and collectively bargain with their employer. The bill has not yet received a hearing or a vote.

Despite a majority of UWHCA nurses signing union cards in support of a collective voice at the bargaining table, the UWHCA board has yet to recognize the union. The board has claimed that state law prohibits them from engaging with a union despite a 2021 report from Wisconsin Legislative Council stating that Act 10 simply eliminated the requirement to do so.

“The Attorney General’s opinion released yesterday clearly opens the door for the UWHCA board to do the right thing,” said Rep. Subeck. “It is time for the UW Hospital and Clinics board to voluntarily recognize the nurses’ union and negotiate in good faith for the good of our care providers and for the good of our community.”

Representative Lisa Subeck has represented the 78th Assembly District since 2015 and serves as Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.