We united across our union to win furlough protections at Harborview, Northwest Hospital
Patient care should never be sacrificed for the sake of the bottom line. As healthcare workers, we are our patients’ number one advocates, so when we sat down at the bargaining table with UW Medicine this week we demanded a furlough plan that would protect our patients.
Leading up to our three days of marathon bargaining, we took action together inside the hospital, and with our union family across the UW Medicine system to call on management to respect our contract and adhere to our values: Patient safety, racial equity, and no loss of our hard-earned benefits.
Our action moved management to respect our union voice and ensured our values are included in the furlough process. It is clear that if we did not have a strong union, UW Medicine would have been able to move forward with scattershot furlough plans without transparency or the commitments we need. Instead, our union difference showed that we can influence and shape what management can and cannot do when they are trying to balance their budget.
While we are proud of the work we did to limit UW Medicine’s furlough power, we must remain vigilant for our patients and cannot agree to any future furlough plans that will compromise our patients’ safety. We know our patient volumes are likely to increase as stay-at-home orders are relaxed and as we resume elective procedures. We will be vigilant in monitoring the impact of furloughs on all our units, and are prepared to speak up and take action when we see the budget is being prioritized over patient care and safety.
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