RELEASE: Thousands of UIHC Caregivers & Staff Joining Public Employees Across Iowa in Vote to Keep Union Voice

RNs, healthcare professionals and staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) start voting in a union recertification election Tuesday at 7 a.m.

The high-stakes election, which runs until Oct. 27, is for public employees in unions across Iowa and determines whether workers can keep their union voice

 The UIHC caregivers, members of SEIU and AFSCME, have been working together to ensure that they maintain their union voice for quality patient care

WHAT: Union election kickoff at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7 a.m.

WHERE: Transportation center at UIHC (200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City) near the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Members of SEIU and AFSCME will be at an informal election site at the UIHC transportation center. There will be opportunities for safe, socially distanced interviews with union members and organizers.

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IOWA CITY — Caregivers and staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) start voting Tuesday in an election to keep their union voice for quality patient care.

RNs and healthcare professionals at UIHC are united in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Nursing assistants, service workers and other staff are members of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Members of the two unions have been working together to ensure that all employees are fully informed about the election.

The UIHC caregivers and staff are public employees. They and thousands of other Iowa public service workers will be voting in these recertification elections, which were established in 2017 by an anti-worker state law.

The law forces public service workers to meet a very high threshold to keep their unions. Winning a majority of votes in an election isn’t enough to ensure victory. A majority of ALL employees at a workplace must vote yes to keep their union. Workers who don’t vote are effectively counted as no votes. Despite the unfair election rules, Iowa’s public employees have voted overwhelmingly to recertify their unions in the elections held since 2017.

To make sure they meet that high threshold this year, AFSCME and SEIU members are running an informal election site at the UIHC transportation center near the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium. The election is being conducted on the internet and by phone. The unions are making it possible for employees to scan QR codes and vote on their own smartphones so safe social distancing can be maintained.

In Iowa City, thousands more staff and graduate students at the University of Iowa will be voting in this round of recertification elections. Also voting will be the municipal workers of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, the public employees of Linn and Johnson Counties, state workers in the departments of transportation, corrections and human services, as well as school employees in area districts.

FOR MORE BACKGROUND AND UPDATES on the election, go to SEIU Local 199’s UIHC chapter Facebook page or to AFSCME Council 61’s Facebook page.

SEIU Local 199 represents 5,000 healthcare and public service workers across Iowa. It is an affiliate of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union. SEIU’s Healthcare Division includes 1 million nurses, lab techs, environmental service workers and other vital staff who serve 60 million patients and clients.

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