Nurses Rally for Higher Wages on Labor Day

Sep 4, 2017

Nurses and their supporters rallied in Des Moines to call for higher wages and the right to form a labor union.

Nurses and other healthcare workers march to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines on Labor Day
Credit Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

Dozens of hospital workers marched to a spot across the street from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines in support of a $15 per hour minimum wage. The pastor at Trinity Las Americas Methodist Church on the north side of the city, Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz, was among the leaders of the rally.

“Did you know that Iowa is No. 50 in pay for nurses?" he asks. "That’s not right. We have to change that, right?”

The crowd of labor supporters also called for the right of health-care employees to unionize. Certified Nursing Assistant Amy Smith says she makes $13 per hour, which is not enough.

“We need a voice so we can look out for our patients better," she says. "I think anybody in healthcare can tell you, we just want what’s best for our patients and we want to get by.”

Nurses in Des Moines say they want the chance to form labor unions.
Credit Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio
The pro-labor group heard from fellow hospital workers and politicians, including Cathy Glasson, a nurse, who is running for Governor.