Internal Organizer: Hannah Bott
We are the 4,000 nurses and healthcare professionals of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. We organized in 1998 to gain a voice in the decisions that affect patient care and our work environment. Our members include registered nurses, respiratory therapists, clinical lab scientists, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists, to name just a few of the more than 70 occupations united in our chapter.
For two decades, we negotiated contracts that set strong standards for patient care and professional conduct at UIHC. In 2017, however, Iowa legislators passed a law attacking the rights of UIHC caregivers and other public employees. That law was used to temporarily void our contract and threatened to dissolve our union.
We won back our contract in 2019. And in October 2020, UIHC members voted overwhelmingly — 2,828 to 38 — to stay union.
After that remarkable victory, we formed an innovative Labor-Management Partnership with the UIHC administration in early 2021. It gives us the ability to work directly with administrators to find solutions to the challenges we face.
Our 2021-2023 UIHC contract only covers employee wages due to the restrictions of the anti-union law of 2017. However, many of the standards that were in our pre-2017 contracts are now contained in the UIHC Employee Manual. Still, it’s no substitute for a full and fair union contract. As a disclaimer in the manual says, “The procedures, practices, policies, and benefits described here may be modified or discontinued from time to time.” That’s why UIHC members are working with our allies across Iowa to elect lawmakers who believe in worker rights and will overturn the 2017 law.