Hi, I was searching for info on how many nurses belonged to the Maine State Nurses Association and ran across your post. I wanted to respond to what you heard about CNA making things worse for nurses and being union busters.
I work in California and have been employed as a labor representative with CNA for almost a year, prior to that I represented nurses in Washington State and worked for SEIU Local 1199NW. CNA nurses in California earn the highest wages in the nation. They also have excellent health care and pension benefits, in many hospitals we are also winning retiree healthcare benefits. Nurses in California fought very hard to win staffing ratios. If you do a Google image search you will see photos where literally thousands of nurses protested to win this critical legislation.
In the coming months Governor Schwarzenegger will probably make another attempt to roll back the ratios, and if you watch the news reports you will see thousands of nurses in the streets again because they believe that this legislation is critical to providing quality patient care.
Regarding CNA being a union buster...you are right that SEIU is the organization that is leveling that charge. There is a deep philosophical disagreement between CNA and SEIU over how members should be represented. The heart of the disagreement revolves around whether or not it is ethical to negotiate sweetheart contracts with employers
in return for rights to organize unorganized nurses. SEIU believes that behavior is ethical. CNA believes that it is not. SEIU attempted to negotiate a secret sweetheart agreement for a large group of nurses and ancillary staff at a Catholic healthcare system in Ohio. Three CNA staffers traveled to Ohio with three CNA members and told the nurses about the back door deal that SEIU was negotiating on their behalf. The Ohio nurses decided that they wanted no part of SEIU, and subsequently SEIU has called us union busters.
If you would like to read more about the whole SEIU mess there is an excellent article that's still available on the internet titled Union Disunity
that ran in the San Francisco Weekly
about two years ago. The story is about the sweetheart deals that SEIU negotiated on behalf of their members in the nursing home industry. The SEIU local featured in the story was courageous enough to speak ot publicly about how these agreements negatively affect members. Unfortunately, SEIU just took over that local and threw out the only decent leaders that currently exist within SEIU. The story of that struggle can be found on a blog called Perez Stern
and on the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) website.
I hope this answered your questions without boring you to tears.