NEW YORK, NY -- Registered nurses represented by the New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU) cast an overwhelming vote this week to affiliate with the NorthEast Nurses Association/National Nurses United (NENA/NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association of RNs, to provide its members with a stronger regional and national voice in this era of dramatic change in health care.
NYPNU, the oldest independent New York nurses union, established in 1984, is comprised of more than 1,100 nurses, who work at Lenox Hill Hospital and at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York City. As an affiliate of National Nurses United, NYPNU joins forces with more than 170,000 nurses from coast to coast in setting a progressive course for nurses on the state and national level.
Approved in a secret ballot membership vote of the nurses conducted April 3 – 5, the decision by NYPNU to seek affiliation was driven by a desire to protect the ability of nurses to practice in an environment focused on the safety and needs of patients.
“The RNs of Lenox Hill Hospital formed NYPNU nearly 30 years ago to protect our patients and the integrity of our practice. Joining with NENA/NNU strengthens our ability to do just that. And with community hospitals like ours being absorbed by large corporate entities across the country, our members saw the need to find a powerful regional and national partner to add strength to our voice to protect our own union contract, to improve our working conditions and to promote our patient advocacy rights in keeping with our mission and goals,” said Maureen McCarthy, president of NYPNU and a nurse in the post anesthesia recovery unit at Lenox Hill Hospital. “NENA/NNU, as the largest, most progressive and powerful voice for nurses and patients in the nation was the obvious choice and our members have overwhelmingly endorsed this decision.”
According to Lenox Hill Hospital emergency room nurse Tamiki Brown, RN “I feel it is my responsibility to step up and embrace this opportunity with NENA/NNU. I owe it to my patients, my family and my profession to participate in this historic movement.”
NNU was founded in 2009 when several state nurses organizations came together to form NNU. Since its founding NNU has won representation for nearly 20,000 RNs at 27 hospitals in nine states. Nationally, NNU represents 170,000 RNs, with members in all states.
The NorthEast Nurses Association is a regional organization established to provide nurse advocacy and union organizing support to nurses throughout the Northeast.
After the vote, NNU co-president Karen Higgins spoke of a growing movement of “nurses from all over our nation coming together to raise their voices in defense of their patients whose safety has been compromised by an industry that puts business interests over the interests of sick patients. We are thrilled to have the nurses of NYPNU join our cause to improve health care and create a more just society for all in America.”