State Board of Regents cancel contract negotiation meetings with UIHC health care professionals union

University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic health care professionals union accuse regents of “prohibited practice” after they halted salary negotiations


Jerod Ringwald

Ashley Lynn, a registered nurse at the hospital, performs an interview with her kids Connor, 2, and Annie, 2, during a nurses protest on Hawkins Drive outside the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

Sofia Mamakos, News Reporter

After recent salary negotiation meetings between the University of Iowa health care professionals union and the state Board of Regents, the regents canceled all future bargaining meetings. 

The Service Employees International Union Local of Minnesota and Iowa started negotiating its contract with the regents on Jan. 18. The union initially proposed a 14 percent salary increase while the regents only offered 1.5 to 3 percent. 

After the regents “declared an impasse” on Sunday, the attorney for the union, Emily Schott Hood, filed a prohibited practice complaint against the regents on Tuesday with the state’s Public Employment Relations Board.

“The employer’s representative responded via email reiterating the employer’s refusal to meet,” the complaint states.

The union is requesting a remedy to the situation and stated in the complaint that the regents committed a “prohibited practice” during the negotiation process.    

Hannah Bott, who represents the UI Health Care staff in the SEIU unit, wrote in an email to the DI that members of the union feel angry and insulted.

“From the start of the bargaining process, the regents’ representatives have shown very little respect for their time and have been dismissive of issues raised, chiefly patient and staff safety concerns,” Bott wrote. 

With the sacrifices made daily by health care staff, she wrote that she was frustrated that the regents wouldn’t even hold a commitment to meet with its employees.

“I’ve been representing this unit for over three years, and this is the lowest I have seen morale,” Bott wrote. “To our members, the regents are sending a clear message: they do not respect healthcare workers enough to give them anything but lip service and empty accolades.”

Josh Lehman, regents senior communications director, wrote in an email to the DI that the regents will continue the collective bargaining process.

“There have been exchanges of offers, and we are hopeful that we can come to a voluntary agreement,” the email stated. 

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story identified the worker’s union by its previous name, which has since changed. A previous headline identified the union as representing nurses, though the union represents all health care workers. The DI regrets these errors.