News & Events

Daily News: National Nurses United Union Launched

From Nursing Spectrum/Nurse Week

NNU co-presidents, from left, Karen Higgins, RN; Jean Ross, RN; and Deborah Burger, RN Photo courtesy of NNU

The 150,000-member-strong National Nurses United was officially launched Dec. 8 at a meeting in Phoenix.

The union, an amalgamation of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association, elected three co-presidents: Karen Higgins, RN; Deborah Burger, RN; and Jean Ross, RN.

“We’re ecstatic,” says Ross. “For years we let our differences divide us; now we’re looking at the things that bring us together.”

The union pledges to address the following:

  • Advance the interests of direct care nurses and patients across the U.S.
  • Organize all direct care RNs “into a single organization capable of exercising influence over the healthcare industry, governments, and employers.”
  • Promote effective collective bargaining representation to all NNU affiliates to promote the economic and professional interests of all direct care RNs.
  • Expand the voice of direct care RNs and patients in public policy, including the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress and every state.
  • Win “healthcare justice, accessible, quality healthcare for all, as a human right.”

One of the group’s first priorities is taking part in the healthcare reform debate, Ross says. “We’re the true voice for the direct-care registered nurse.”

NNU is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. The group’s Web site is