We are making history! Headlines from around the nation
From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
January/February 2010 Edition
Nurses unions merge, back healthcare overhaul
Three nurses unions merged on Monday to form the largest-ever labor organization for U.S. medical professionals, which is expected to wield greater clout in collective bargaining and the national healthcare debate.
Plans to organize nonunion nurses go hand-in-hand with ongoing efforts to end mandatory overtime for nurses and other cost-cutting hospital practices that nursing advocates say have stretched patient care too thin.
The focus on patient care also figures in the union’s aim to seek passage of federal legislation setting national standards for nurse staffing levels.
Nurses unions join together for more clout
Nurses from three unions, including the powerful California Nurses Association, have founded a new national union to influence national health care policies and try to extend California’s patient ratio law into other states.
Organizers said the 150,000-member National Nurses United, the largest professional union for registered nurses in the country, will also flex its power to push for a stronger voice in the health care overhaul process going on in Congress and the expansion of representation for nonunion nurses.
The union’s creation, which has been eight months in the works, comes at a time when the country is involved in a debate over how to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
“We’re just thrilled we are finally all moving forward together, and we’re expecting we will be able to play a much bigger role in the health care debate in the future,” said Karen Higgins, a Massachusetts nurse who is one of three organizers elected president of National Nurses United.
The nurses, while virtually uniformly in favor of a national or single-payer health care system, a concept that is not on the table in Washington, say they also want a larger voice in setting policies that affect patient care and the quality of health services.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Nurses may join one big union
Unionized nurses in Massachusetts are moving toward affiliating with their counterparts in California and more than 20 other states to create the largest nurses union in U.S. history, a 150,000-member powerhouse that would lobby lawmakers for higher staffing levels and an overhaul of the nation’s health care system.
The move could give the state’s nurses more bargaining power with hospitals and aid organizing efforts at nonunion health care providers.
Local backers of the new alliance, National Nurses United, contend it would help patients by pushing for state laws mandating more nurses on duty. “This is an opportunity for nurses to work together to be more effective in safeguarding patients,’’ said Donna Kelly-Williams, a Cambridge Hospital nurse who took over this month as president of the 23,000-member Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the vast majority of nurses at Massachusetts hospitals.
Source: Boston Globe
New national nurses union forms
A new national union of up to 154,000 registered nurses was created in Phoenix today, replacing one of the most aggressive nurse unions in the industry and combining its membership with two other nurse-only labor groups to form National Nurses United.
The 134 delegates at the NNU founding convention at the Phoenix Convention Center voted unanimously in favor of creating the new organization, which combines the hard-charging California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee with the Massachusetts Nurses Association and some members of the United American Nurses.
“I think the debate over healthcare (reform) probably finally pushed us to get here, but it’s something that we should have done a long time ago and it’s thrilling that we’re finally doing it,” Karen Higgins, a staff nurse at Boston Medical Center and co-president of the NNU, said in a phone call from the Arizona convention floor.
Source: Modern Healthcare
It’s official: three unions merge to form nurses ‘super union’
Nurses have been called the new face of organized labor. Like an increasing percentage of the rest of America’s labor movement, the typical RN in the U.S. is female, college-educated, and working a nonoutsourceable job in the service sector. This week, American nurses banded together to wield unprecedented power in the workplace and in national politics. Delegates in Phoenix yesterday approved a three-union merger to create National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union of registered nurses.
Eight months in the making, the merger joins the California Nurses Association, the United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Union to create a new super union with a combined strength of 150,000 members. NNU hopes to use its increased clout to influence the national healthcare debate. The timing is fortiuitous. The new super union is coming online just as the Senate is debating its version of the healthcare reform bill. Near the top of NNU’s legislative wishlist is S.1031, AKA The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), would require hospitals to maintain a minimum ratio of nurses to patients in ERs, operating rooms, critical care units, and nurseries. Hospitals would be forbidden under the Act to use mandatory overtime or layoffs to meet the target ratio.
Source: In These Times
Hospitals gain bigger foe in nurses union
Hospitals across the country have a new, more formidable opponent after the merging of three unions to form National Nurses United. Unlike manufacturing, health care is a growing industry. So look for the union battle over hospital employees to continue.
Source: Business Magazine Portfolio
New National Nurses Union forms—but what’s it mean to you?
Given the current push to reform health care, this new union could make a difference for both nurses and our patients. As a nurse now focused on quality improvement, I would like to see nursing unions bring out the best in nurses by promoting compliance to evidence-based best practices and supporting professional development. There is now evidence to support IV therapy teams in hospitals and appropriate staffing ratios. Since the evidence is there, let’s push to make these a reality in a majority of hospitals instead of only a few.
Source: Off the Charts: American Journal of Nursing blog
Nurses Unions Merge to Gain Greater Voice in Health Care
Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) yesterday created the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history and immediately pledged to work to expand union representation of nurses and give them a greater voice in health care reform
Karen Higgins, an RN from Massachusetts, and one of three newly elected co-presidents of the NNU, said: “The promise of the future has arrived with all the unlimited potential, creativity, vision, and power represented by the delegates in the room, and the 150,000 members of the founding organizations.”
Source: AFL-CIO Now Blog
Three Nurses Groups Ratify Super Union
After months of negotiations, representatives from the nation’s three largest registered nurses unions voted unanimously Monday to merge and create a 150,000-member, coast-to-coast “super union” with a mission to organize every bedside RN in the nation.
The new union, National Nurses United, which organizers say is the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in
U.S. history, will represent RNs who up to now had been served by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association.
Source: Health Leaders Media
Delegates to founding NNU convention adopt constitution, elect union’s officers
The first national union of direct care registered nurses became a reality Dec. 7 as delegates to the founding convention of National Nurses United adopted a constitution and elected officers to lead the 150,000member union.
In opening the convention, which she called the “continental Congress of a national nurses’ movement,” Karen Higgins, a former president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, who was elected as one of three co-presidents of NNU, declared that the creation of the “largest union of direct care nurses is about a century overdue.” To thunderous applause she warned health care employers that if “you seek to undermine the rights of one nurse, you’ll now have to answer to every nurse.”
Source: Bureau of National Affairs
Nurses Unite. As the health care debate intensifies on Capitol Hill, a new union of registered nurses is launching today. The 150,000-member National Nurses United, which will affiliate with the AFL-CIO, plans to have a big presence on Capitol Hill.
“Nurses are patient advocates, and we plan a high-profile Capitol advocacy agenda,” said registered nurse Deborah Burger of the union. “Our hope is to wed the public’s strong support of RNs with our unions’ history of creative and effective campaigns.”
Source: Roll Call
Nurses rally for national law mandating ratios for patient care in hospitals
Hospital care suffers because overworked nurses are assigned too many patients and are unable to voice their concerns out of fear of reprisals from administrators, members of a nurses union said Tuesday.
About 300 nurses from across the country demonstrated outside the offices of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, a group that advocates for hospitals and health care systems, in support of legislation that would, among other things, cap nurse-to-patient ratios.
The nurses were in Phoenix for a conference at which they formed National Nurses United, a union for nurses around the country.
Source: Cronkite News Services
The new RN Super Union “is” the National Nurses United: Ready or Not, Here It Comes!
If you didn’t know, it is going to be on and popping in healthcare. National Nurses United is building steam and who knows, maybe the sleeper will awaken. I posted several weeks ago on this blog about the reformation of the healthcare and nursing workplace. It may be coming, ready or not, here shortly as the nursing unions are about to “go hard or go home.” Don’t know what this slang means just Google it!
I will have blogging material for years to come and I am excited to see what changes are coming, ready or not for the nursing workplace. A nursing revolution or the evolution of nursing, maybe? Changes are needed in the nursing workplace, ready or not. This RN union and professional association appears ready, willing, and able to do business and put in “work.” The new National Nurses United should not be burdened by the professional association first and “then a union” model and the baggage which comes along with trying to be all things to all nurses all the time.
Here it comes, a nursing version to be played out in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country of one of my favorite teenage video games and movies, Mortal Kombat!!
I keep it real on this blog and whether you support nursing unions or not, I personally have to tip my hat to the new RN Super Union, the National Nurses United for coming together, setting aside differences for the betterment of the profession, and forging ahead to build bridges for RNs in the nursing workplace of the future.
Source: Nursing Law & Order Blog
Have you hugged your nurse today?
The stage is now set for the formation of a new 150,000-member super union for registered nurses at a founding convention in December. The new union, which will be called National Nurses United, combines the membership of the California Nurses Association, the United American Nurses and the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Deborah Burger, copresident of California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, has proclaimed, “This is a truly historic moment and I hope it sends chills down the backs of those employers who would want to keep us down.”
Source: Executive Labor Summary Blog by Constangy Brooks & Smith LLC—management lawyers
Gigantic nursing union has formed: National Nurses United
Their founding convention will take place this December in Arizona. Can you imagine what kind of power this 150,000 member union will have? Physicians have talked about creating a union for many years, but nothing has ever happened. Perhaps that will change if healthcare reform changes become unbearable for physicians.
Source: Medicine and Technology blog by Dr. Joseph Kim