Someone recently sent me an amazing picture of a protester holding a placard in front of the Wisconsin capitol building. The sign, in huge block letters said, "You screw us, we multiply!" I loved this one, not because of the language, but because of the truth and frankness behind the messaging.
For the first time in a very long time, we are witnessing a tremendous amount of union solidarity across all the trades. We are proud to be a part of that surge.
Over the last few weeks, SEIU nurses joined in solidarity with the nurses of the American Nurse Association, the National Federation of Nurses, the National Nurses Union, and the American Federation of Nurses -- along with other unions and labor federations -- to protest draconian proposals in Wisconsin, Ohio and several other states that seek to strip away collective bargaining rights for public employees.
SEIU Nurse Alliance members have taken part in events in WI, OH, NY, MN, IN, CA and around the U.S. to stand up for quality patient care and quality public services as rallies were organized across the country. At one such rally on February 26th in Olympia, Washington, nurse and SEIU Healthcare 1199NW member Kate Severson shared some powerful words on this struggle from a caregiver's point of view.
"What the Wisconsin Governor and others like him are doing is not simply an attack on nurses and teachers and public sector workers. It is a frontal assault on patients, and students, and communities, and the core values that helped build this country.... "Wisconsin is not some faraway place. In our own state, this beautiful Washington that we call home, some legislators have drawn up plans to cut state employee contracts, lay off thousands of workers, and extend tax breaks to those who need them the least."
We Are All Wisconsin
The outcome of this fight is not certain as I write this. What is certain, however, is that we stood up in solidarity, were heard and seen ... and we don't seem to be tiring anytime soon in this movement to save the fundamental rights we have to collectively bargain.
"Thank you, Scott Walker, for showing us...that we need to get off our duffs and fight for our futures," said Tim Swanson, an SEIU member and Resident Nurse in the University of Wisconsin hospital's neuroscience intensive care unit.
Here are a few links to some of the Union's coverage of this monumental time of struggle and solidarity for our movement. You can also send a message of support to SEIU members in Wisconsin fighting for their rights here: http://www.seiu.me/wisconsin.