USW leaders in Districts 1 and 4 push for safe staffing legislation to protect health care workers

Union leaders in Districts 1 and 4 sent letters last week to their state lawmakers supporting safe staffing legislation for health care workers in Michigan and New Jersey. 

In Michigan’s last legislative session, Rep. Angela Witwer and Sen. Ed McBroom introduced H.B. 4016 and S.B. 204, which would require hospitals to develop and implement a staffing plan for registered nurses. This staffing plan would prevent the overextension of any worker by following the bill’s established minimum nurse-to-patient ratios and enable nurses to provide better care for their patients and protect themselves from injury. 

District 1 Director Donnie Blatt said in his communication to the state legislature that similar legislation should be strengthened and reintroduced this session. 

“Health care workers cite short staffing as a detriment to patient care and work satisfaction, and as a contributing factor to injury on-the-job,” he wrote. “These caregivers should have every advantage possible to ensure their safe return from work every day.” 

In New Jersey, District 4 Director Del Vitale is advocating on behalf of USW members, including nurses at Robert Woods Johnson University Hospital, for passage of A. 4536 and S. 304. These bills would establish minimum staffing standards for registered professional nurses in hospitals, ambulatory surgery facilities, and certain DHS facilities. 

“We are optimistic that this legislation will start to make a positive impact on injury rates for registered nurses in New Jersey, and that more legislation will follow for increased safety for other health care occupations,” wrote Vitale. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from 2019 to 2021, the health care industry consistently had the highest number of worker injury cases compared to any other sector. This is why the USW has been fighting nonstop for legislation at all levels of government to protect health care workers on the job. 

Click here to learn more.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222