CNA Nurses and USWA form Alliance

Nurses Activism


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Found while reading my husband's March/April 2001 Steelabor

Magazine and copied from website.

Ninety Percent of Health Care Industry Lacks Union Representation

Under the newly forged Health Care Workers Alliance, the promise of a collective voice will be offered to hundreds of thousands of nurses and other health care workers in the mostly non-union health care industry. The unique alliance combines the power of one of North America's pre-eminent industrial unions with the professional expertise and experience of the nation's fastest growing independent nurses union.

Initially, the USWA and CNA will begin work on joint union organizing projects in California and other states. One coordinated campaign is already underway at the Good Samaritan and Mission Oaks Hospitals in San Jose.

Common Goals

The Alliance will also welcome other progressive unions with members in health care in the U.S. and Canada, who share common goals, such as establishing a universal health care system in the U.S. and preserving the system in Canada, and assuring that patient needs are the primary component in health care decision making.

"With 11 million health care workers in the United States, it is tragic that fewer than 10% have union representation. It's no wonder that our health care system is in grave crisis to the detriment of health care workers and patients alike," said USWA President Leo Gerard. "We intend to transform the health care landscape."

"We dream of a day," said CNA President Kay McVay, RN, "when all nurses are united under one umbrella, in a national nurses' organization that will give them genuine power to be stronger patient advocates and effectuate change for their patients and themselves." McVay said she hoped other progressive nurses' unions will join the new Alliance. "By working with the USWA, we will have additional power to protect the professional practice of nurses and forge a strong unity with other health care workers."

Becker's Vision

Establishing this alliance was a critical priority of recently retired USWA President George Becker. "Health care is a vital resource and public service, not a commodity to be exploited for profit by a few," said Becker. "We need a model that will protect workers, but also serve the public well-being by giving patients an improved health care system with a genuine health care safety net."

"Nurses and other health care employees have been in unions for more than half a century. Yet today, only a relative handful are represented, scattered about in several dozen organizations," said CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. "By building a new but very different approach, organizing large numbers of health care employees along industrial lines perfected by the USWA and using the vision and professional model established by CNA, we have an exciting, unparalleled opportunity."

An industrial model approach to organizing, DeMoro explained, defines health care as no longer a single system with individual employers, but a large industry comprised of huge corporate chains. It sees the corporate links between hospital corporations and other health care sectors, including other providers, material suppliers, and financial support services--and projects the need for organizing in all sectors.

To that end, the Alliance agreement "will promote joint organizing and support labor solidarity beyond hospitals for organizing in order to bolster our power in direct care. These additional areas include nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, medical device manufacturers, financial institutions, pharmaceuticals, supplemental equipment manufacturers, medical records processing, laboratories and food services."

"Our union has represented health care workers since the late 1940s," said International President Leo Gerard. "This Alliance will increase our strength in organizing this vital industry."

Patient Advocacy

Concurrently, the Alliance agreement commits both parties to the patient advocacy model long championed by CNA. It includes pledges to:

Oppose restructuring, deskilling and deprofessionalization currently plaguing health care. The parties agree to support initiatives to assure appropriate skills, education and staffing for optimal patient outcomes.

Embrace only those medical technologies that enhance employee skills and patient access.

Push for staffing levels to be driven by patient need, not budget concerns or bargaining unit density of respective labor organizations.

Oppose labor management "partnerships" that serve only the interests of health care employers, not healthcare workers or patients.

Create a contemporary model of union cooperation that provides a voice for the public's genuine concern for health care access.

In addition to the joint organizing projects, Alliance members will provide mutual support for collective bargaining strategies, and work together to influence the public debate and legislation in support of a publicly funded, universal health care system and other critical legislation, including safe staffing, and bans on mandatory overtime.

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Is the USWA part of the AFL-CIO? Is the Health Care Workers Alliance only between Cal Nurses and the USWA? Who are they going to organize?

I have a lot of questions about this, mostly where are they headed and how will they get there?

According to the AFL-CIO website the USWA is one of the 64 unions it represents.

This is getting rather confusing. If you are a member of the CNA are you a member of the USWA automatically and the AFL-CIO too?

So does this mean that basically if you are in either of these nursing associations (CNA or ANA) you are represented by the same union, since the ANA recently affiliated with the AFL-CIO?

No it doesnt mean that at all. An affiliation is not the same as a merger. It is a "relationship". In an affiliation, the parties involved remain distinct & separate organizations. In a merger, they become one & the same. Nobody merged with anybody. The CNA did not affiliate with the AFL-CIO. The UAN did. The CNA has a working relationship with one of the organizations which just happens to be within the AFL-CIO family.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

AFL- CIO is the top umbrella labor organization(

USWA (United Steelworkers) is a separate union under the AFL-CIO. (

I checked out CNA site ( and found this link to uswa ---

CNA is also encouraging USWA pension plan participation as found here.

Both nursing unions have affiliated with large labor unions to prevent RAIDING. That is one of UAN/ANA's labor arms reasons for affiliation, NOT a takeover. Also, to learn to effectively advocate for a large number of workers.

You do not become a member of the affiliated organizaion.

AFL-CIO's site states that the UAN is THE LARGEST national nursing union with 100,000 members and that collectively, 1.1 million healthcare workers have union representation (that includes nurses and allied health staff together).

Their are so many untaped nurses dying for representation, but it seems that a lot of the healthcare unions (i.e. SEIU) are mostly going after already established nursing unions, as Isee it. Nurses unionize after their employers don't listen to their concerns and create unfavorable working conditions.

I have some reservations re CNA's union website touting USWA pension plan (my husbands isn't that great). On the other hand, for someone without ANY pension, as most nurses are lacking one, it does permit one to save for retirement. I'd have to look carefully perfore investing. 401k plans are usually just as good along with IRA-- limits going up in 2002.

Check out the above and offer your opinion here. Karen

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

CNA's Press release found here:

Same as above.

CNA is raiding my nursing union. They are not to be trusted! :o

CNA is raiding my nursing union. They are not to be trusted! :o


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