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RNs In Motion CNA-NNU

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37 Defending the Public's Health At times it is necessary to take our advocacy beyond the walls of the facilities in which we work, partic- ularly when employers or public policy threaten the health of our communities. We have rallied to defend our rights as union members to have the protections that allow us to advocate for our patients, and have campaigned for safe staffing and health care reform in the halls of our legislatures. Saving Local Hospitals and Services Our members have used our collective power to successfully avert the closure of hospitals, such as when Northern California health industry giant Sutter Health threatened to close San Leandro Hos- pital and St. Luke's Hospital. Both hospitals serve as safety net hospitals and closure would have had a devastating impact on the patients who depend upon them. Standing Up for RN and Patient Rights — the Kentucky River Decision In the fall of 2006, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a disgraceful 3–2 decision that attempted to redefine and expand the defi- nition of who is a supervisor under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), federal law governing unionization. The misguided ruling said that full- time charge nurses were supervisors because they exercise independent judgment in directing and assigning patient care provided by colleagues. This is significant because under the NLRA, which covers private-sector workers, "supervisors" do not have rights to union representation and protec- tion because they must place the interests of their employers first. Denying RNs our democratic right to union representation compromises our ability to safely advocate for patients. Studies have shown better patient safety and improved patient outcomes when nurses have the protection of representation. In reaction to the ruling by the NLRB, tens of thousands of CNA/NNU nurses, labor activists, and community members mounted a furious campaign of protests across the country and pledged that they will take all actions necessary, up to and including striking, if our employer moves to deny RNs the right to a union. California Kaiser Contract Neutralizes Supervision Decision The more than 19,000 CNA/NNU Kaiser RNs were the first and largest group in the nation to secures an employer commitment not to invoke the NLRB decision. The language states that Kaiser: Agrees that it will not challenge the bargain- ing unit status of any nurses or job classifi- cation covered by this agreement, claim that any nurse or job classification covered by this agreement exercises supervisory author- ity within the meaning of the NLRA, assign duties to or remove direct-care patient care duties and responsibilities from any nurse for the purpose of removing that nurse from the bargaining unit, or eliminate, or remove from the bargaining unit nurses the direct- care responsibilities of registered nurses and nurse practitioners described in the preced- ing paragraph. The Employer also agrees that during the term of this agreement it will not challenge the Union's right to represent any nurse in any job classification covered by this Agree- ment based on a claim that such nurse is a supervisor within the meaning of the NLRA. Patient Advocacy— Our Guiding Principle Social Advocacy

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