Nevada State AFL-CIO and Affiliates Stand in Opposition to Assembly Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui’s Bill to Enact Nurse Licensure Compact
CARSON CITY — This afternoon, Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Susie Martinez, SEIU 1107, National Nurses United/California Nurses Association and additional AFL-CIO affiliates testified in strong opposition to Assembly Bill 108, led by Assembly Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui. The legislation, which has been introduced several times before but has always failed, would include Nevada in the Nurse Licensure Compact, and therefore force the state to adhere to rules set by national administrators. It would also threaten the wages and opportunities of local nurses.
“This bill is not only an affront to Nevada’s nurses, but also to the labor movement as a whole. Our state’s nurses have always worked on the front lines to ensure that our families receive the health care that they deserve, especially during the pandemic. The idea of outsourcing labor to workers in other states that do not have the same knowledge of our health care system is offensive to our nursing workforce and the Nevadans to which they provide care,” said Executive Secretary-Treasurer Susie Martinez. “We need to focus on the root factors that have contributed to our nursing shortage—including the lack of efforts to recruit and retain our nurses and the poor treatment that they have received for years—instead of allowing a national board that is willing to put profits over patients to regulate our unique system. Nevada’s nurses deserve better than this.”
"On behalf of the thousands of frontline nurses we represent, we are strongly calling on lawmakers to oppose Assembly Bill 108. AB108 would not address the nurse understaffing crisis and would erase critical patient care safeguards. The bill would force Nevada to enter a binding 'Nurse License Compact' that would be extremely difficult to make changes to in the future, undermining our state's sovereignty,” said SEIU 1107 Executive Director Grace Vergara-Mactal and SEIU 1107 President Michelle Maese. “The pandemic aggravated long term, systemic problems with turnover and burnout, and many of our nurses are completely exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Instead of implementing this reckless Compact, legislators should focus on developing sustainable solutions, including improved nurse recruitment and retention, and setting safe staffing levels that protect quality patient care."
“As nurses, we protect our patients and our practice first. This bill puts our patients in potential jeopardy and waters down nursing practice. A nurses licensure compact does nothing to address keeping nurses at the bedside or actually in Nevada,” said registered nurse and National Nurses United/National Nurses Organizing Committee member Dina Armstrong. “The issue is not needing more licensed RNs. It is keeping those we have at the bedside to care for patients. Improving working conditions, safe patient to nurse staffing ratios, and treating people with dignity and respect would solve this manufactured staffing crisis in our state.”
Nevada already has a fast-track process to license out-of-state nurses, who can apply for a license by reciprocity. If Nevada enters the Nurse Licensure Compact, unionized nurses could see a decrease in collective bargaining power and diminished wages. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Nevada had fewer hospital staffing shortages than 24 of 38 Nurse Licensure Compact States.