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March 08, 2005

Fighting Mandatory Overtime

With a focus on overtime due to Santorum's repulsive little bill, it's worth celebrating some of the successes we've had at the state level in ending mandatory overtime for some workers, notably health care professional who we sure as hell don't want working beyond the point of stress and exhaustion.

The AFT and SEIU unions, both representing nurses in various states, have been especially vigilant in promoting laws to restrict overtime in the name of consumer health. Check out AFT's indepth study, Stop the Clock for more. New York and Vermont are now mounting campaigns to restrict overtime in those states.

A similar issue to linking restricting overtime to patient health is the fight in California over restricting the workload of nurses. Nurses won a ballot initiative to decrease patient-to-nurse caseloads to a five-to-one ratio to enhance patient care, but Governor Schwarzenneger defied the law last fall and issued an executive order to keep the ratio at six-to-one across the state. However, a federal judge slapped him down this week and declared he had overstepped his powers and implemented the law. Nurses are now following him around the country protesting his fundraising jaunts before corporate backers, highlighting the issue and Arnie's hostility to workers and patient needs.

Posted by Nathan at March 8, 2005 08:44 AM