Press Release

AFT President’s Statement on Landmark Victory by Washington State Nurses Association in its Legal Battle over Missed Rest Breaks

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Scott Stephens


Washington—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on the Washington State Supreme Court's reaffirmation of its earlier unanimous decision upholding the nurses' statutory right to be paid overtime when their duties prevent them from taking a rest break:

"Nurses are the frontline care providers in our hospitals, and when nurses are rested and alert, patients receive better care. It is dangerous for both nurses and patients when nurses are forced to work 10 or more hours in a row without breaks. This decision means that hospitals will now face a financial penalty if they fail to provide rest breaks, helping to ensure that nurses get the breaks they deserve and need to provide safe patient care.

"The tenacity displayed by Washington State Nurses Association members during this long, hard-fought battle has resulted in a landmark victory for patient safety that sets an important precedent for the rest of the country. In Washington state and throughout the country, nurses continue to advocate for quality care, for best practices in care, and for improved working conditions that affect both patients and all healthcare staff. I congratulate the Washington State Nurses Association on this victory."


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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.