UAN/NNOC/MNA Form largest RN Union in History

  1. Three RN Unions Join Forces in New Union

    By Mike Hall
    AFL-CIO blog
    February 18, 2009

    In a move to create a powerful national voice for registered nurses, three of the largest nurse unions in the country announced today they are coming together in a new 150,000-member association.

    The three groups are the United American Nurses (UAN), California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA).

    The new organization will be called the United American Nurses-National Nurses Organizing Committee, UAN-NNOC (AFL-CIO), and will bring the MNA's 23,000 members into the AFL-CIO.

    A statement from the unions this morning said:

    Under the principle that RNs should be represented by an RN union, we resolve to create a new union of staff nurse-led organizations named UAN-NNOC.

    UAN President Ann Converso, RN, says the new association is "the first step" in creating a national nurses union.

    There's still a lot of work to be done but all three organizations have a singular focus on RNs and patient care.

    Says MNA President Beth Piknick, RN:

    We have to have RNs speaking for RNs because we are a unique profession. We feel our profession is under attack and because of that, patients are suffering, and for us it's all about the patients. This is a group of like-minded organization that will advocate for our patients.

    Among its many priorities, the UAN-NNOC will establish a unified legislative and regulatory program to win critical improvements in patient care and working conditions for RNs, says Rose Ann DeMoro, CNA-NNOC executive director.

    DeMoro says one of the new union's top legislative priorities is setting safe nurse-patient staffing ratios. CNA-NNOC led the fight for ratios in California, the only state in the nation with safe staffing laws on the books. Those levels, she says, not only protect patients by ensuring adequate nursing care, but protect nurses, too.

    There's been a critical downturn of the economy and ratios keep a safe level of care. When you cut registered nurses, it's a crime for patients. It's also a good safeguard for nurses' jobs.

    The UAN-NNOC has set five major goals:

    * Build an nurse movement in order to defend and advance the interests of direct care nurses across the country.
    * Organize all nonunion direct care RNs (a substantial majority of the budget shall be dedicated to new organizing).
    * Provide a powerful national voice for RN rights, safe RN practice, including RN-to-patient staffing ratios under the principle that safe staffing saves lives, and health care justice.
    * Provide a vehicle for solidarity with sister nurse and allied organizations around the world.
    * Create a national Taft-Hartley pension for union RNs.

    DeMoro says that while today's announcement grows the union movement by 23,000, she hopes that

    other state associations will join with us, too.

    Converso, who worked for 35 years in organized facilities with the protection of a union contract, says:

    Thank God for my union. Nurses today are being laid off, deskilled, disciplined. I lived through that once I didn't think I'd see it again. Now, I think, "how do non-union nurses do it?" There are so many unorganized nurses out there and we want to go organize them together.
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  3. by   jsrRN
    This is an amazing step forward! I've always been puzzled that teachers managed to get themselves organized in teacher's unions, but as a profesison as RNs we allowed ourselves to be atomized and parsed out among non-RN unions.
  4. by   RN Power Ohio
    Our voice just got a whole lot louder!!
  5. by   herring_RN
    nurses unions to combine

    ... the move is more of an amalgamation than a merger, because the three unions will maintain their identities, but the new group is intended to give union-represented nurses a national voice and more organizing strength, said debra berger, president of the california nurses association based in oakland....

    ...the three unions said in a statement that "rns should be represented by an rn union."...
  6. by   Chico David RN
    Given the history among some nures' unions, I never thought I would actually see this happen, but it's a great day. Opens up the opportunity to get more nurses organized into a real nurses' union and to finally develop the power our profession should have in health care
  7. by   Julia RN
    Congratulations to all who are members of these organizations! This opens up a new realm of possibilities- the opportunity to realize a dream of unity for staff nurses that we have all often spoken of.

    Now, all I have to do is get my state to see the light....
  8. by   RN4MERCY
    Collectively these RN unions will be a powerful voice for protecting the duty of RNs to advocate in the exclusive interest of patients. Several influential reports and peer-reviewed studies have shown a dramatic rise in medical errors, poor patient outcomes, and an alarming number of preventable patient deaths directly attributable to inadequate RN to patient ratios, mandatory overtime, replacement of RNs by unlicensed personnel and other dangerous administrative practices. The UAN/NNOC will provide RNs with the legally protected right to influence and improve the nation's health, from the bedside to the legislature, in support of a single standard of excellent care for all.

    This is great news for patients and the RNs who care for them.
  9. by   lucretiamott
    Thank you CNA/NNOC for bringing this about. As an RN, facing a lay-off due to budget cuts in the public sector, this was a ray of sunshine and the hope that nurses can and will lead the way for better patient care and nursing practice standards throughout the country now that this merger has happened. You give me hope and pride in my profession again.

    I have no doubt that if you were my collective bargaining representive at this point, I and many others would not be facing un-employment in July.
  10. by   RN4MERCY
    For too long, we've witnessed the harsh and devastating effects of corporate political and social domination on our health care system. UAN/NNOC/MNA RNs are a credible, powerful force to be reckoned with and as professional and patient advocates we're saying "enough" to the commodification, exploitation, and fragmentation of our work.

    What I see here is the vanguard of a tremendous social movement, sustained by a firm belief in creating a healthcare system that embodies justice and egalitarian values. Together our efforts can and will bring about long-term fundamental social change. This national RN "superunion" is without peer among other unions who purport to represent RNs; we are pursuing a more powerful agenda of patient advocacy that promotes the interests of patients, direct care nurses, and RN professional practice.

    We have focused our collective identity to reclaim our moral legacy as RNs, in recognition of our unique ethical and legal duty to patients. Time and time again, we've seen how RNs who are unrepresented by an RN union don't have the protection they need to advocate in their patient's best interest; especially when it is in conflict with their employer's bottom line. We explicitly reject the labor-management partnerships that all but bounds and gags RNs and relegates patient interests to the back seat of the corporate bus.

    All direct care RNs should organize and join with UAN/NNOC/MNA RNs! It's imperative that we mobilize as social and political advocates to combat the denial of human dignity inherent in our shameful and immoral for-profit health care system. What a great opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for every generation to come.

    Universal guaranteed healthcare for all. This is the ideal worth living for and it's about time!
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    PASNAP is part of NNOC---why are they not being listed as part of organizations joining together....especailly with their 5,000 members....
  12. by   Chico David RN
    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    PASNAP is part of NNOC---why are they not being listed as part of organizations joining together....especailly with their 5,000 members....
    I think it's effectively because of what you say there - they are already part of NNOC, so it's just assumed they are part of it, just as Maine State Nurses Assn is also not mentioned, but joined NNOC a couple years ago. With the splintering and now re-joining of the various nurses unions in the last few years, I'm going to need a scorecard to remind me who's with who.
  13. by   RN4MERCY
    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    PASNAP is part of NNOC---why are they not being listed as part of organizations joining together....especailly with their 5,000 members....
    I believe that it's a given, since PASNAP has already affiliated with NNOC as has the Maine State Nurses Association. They each have a member on the NNOC Board of Directors. NNOC also is the collective bargaining representative for nurses working at hospitals in Illinois, Texas, and Nevada. NNOC is the inclusive term for the collective which also includes the California Nurses Association. NNOC has affiliated RN members in all 50 states, who are as yet unrepresented for the purposes of collective bargaining. These nurses have chosen NNOC as their professional association and support the organization's vision and values.

    As it was quoted in the article posted by herring_RN, regarding the UAN, MNA, and NNOC, "The move is more of an amalgamation than a merger, because the three unions will maintain their identities, but the new group is intended to give union-represented nurses a national voice and more organizing strength," according to Deborah Burger, who is a member of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents.

    Does that help?
  14. by   herring_RN
    an rx for nurses -- and us, too

    ...the alliance, for instance, is seeking tighter limits on the number of patients that individual nurses in hospitals and clinics are assigned to care for, and other improvements that would make work safer and more effective for both patients and their nurses.

    "we feel our profession is under attack," says president beth piknick of the massachusetts nurses association, "and because of that, patients are suffering. and for us, it's all about the patients." she describes the alliance as "a group of like-minded organizations that will advocate for our patients."...