RN "Super Union" Adopts Name: National Nurses United Sets Founding Convention Dec. 7 In Arizona
Meeting in Minneapolis last week, leaders of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association also agreed on the name for the new, 150,000 member national organization: National Nurses United.
AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka, expected to become the next AFL-CIO President in September, will speak to the convention.
"This represents another step forward in the growing movement of direct-care nurses to finally claim a national voice with true national power," said Ellen Smith, RN, an intensive care nurse at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass. and a member of the MNA Board of Directors. "As the debate over healthcare reform takes center stage, it's essential that direct-care nurses, those who spend the most time with patients, have the ability to make their positions known and their voices heard."
"I have spent so many years learning the history of how and why the nurses in this country have been split apart. I am both relieved and ecstatic to find it really doesn't matter now. We have the will and the combined drive to move forward, and we are," said Jean Ross, RN, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, and UAN Secretary-Treasurer.
Martha Kuhl, RN, secretary-treasurer of CNA/NNOC and a nurse at Children's Hospital in Oakland, Calif., talked about meeting with other pediatric RNs at the Minnesota meeting as a precursor to the upcoming work of the NNU. "I was very excited to get together with other children's hospital nurses and look forward to working nationally with nurses for a single standard of pediatric care, along with a single standard of care for all patients. Nurses united will have enormous influence to fight for that reality."
"As staff nurses our time has finally come," said Sandra Falwell, RN of the DC Nurses Association and a UAN director. "Just think about all the management heads that turned grey when they heard what we are doing. I'm glad I've lived long enough to see this happen and know what a great legacy this would be to pass on."
Last week's session of the interim executive committee continues a unification process that will culminate in December. All three organizations will have national conventions prior to December to ratify the pending unification that is intended to build a stronger, more powerful national movement of direct-care RNs and spur representation campaigns for non-union nurses into an RN-led union.
Additionally, the NNU will emphasize protecting and expanding patient rights and RN professional practice, including promoting a Senate bill, S 1031, the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act, which is modeled after the successful California law establishing RN-to-patient safe staffing ratios. And, the new organization will work to strengthen the voice of nurses in the national healthcare debate.
California Nurses Association
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