National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine April 2011

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TOC_Layout 1 5/5/11 11:42 AM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents a contract. What does it mean? The contracts we members of National Nurses United are most familiar with are our employment contracts with hospitals that spell out basic things like our salaries, our benefits, and work rules. Contracts exist to make sure nurses are treated fairly and can devote their energy, time, and focus to taking care of patients. There's another kind of contract, though, called a social contract. Without getting too philosophical, the rough definition is the agreement between society and its representative government about the rules we all live by. For example, we Americans agree to pay taxes and not break laws. The government agrees to protect the country, enforce the laws, maintain public infrastructure and programs, give us a voice about who's in charge through the voting process, and in general make sure conditions exist where we can all pursue life, liberty, and happiness as described in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Looking at the state of the nation today, however, it's clear that our social contract has been breached. The American people are not in good shape. Many are unemployed, hungry, sick, without homes, without healthcare, without a good education, and, most importantly, without the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Meanwhile, the ultra wealthy and big corporations are living large. Their tax burden is the lowest it's been in NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, April 2011 Volume 107/3 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for decades, but they still cry hardship. The top 1 percent owns as much as the bottom 90 percent! It's clear we need a new social contract and it seems from the Madison protests and the mood of the country that people are ready to fight for one. The people need leadership, though, and nurses are just the group to provide it. We have drafted very simple demands: living wage jobs; equal access to quality education; guaranteed healthcare; secure retirement; good housing and protection from hunger; a safe and healthy environment; the right to organize and bargain; a fair tax system where corporations and the rich pay their fair share; and restoration of the American promise of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We call it the "Main Street contract for the American people." In the coming months, we will start organizing the public to fight for and win this Main Street contract. If you care like we know you do, you will help us. Learn more about the Main Street contract in this issue. Also in this issue are reports from all over the country about current battles our RN members are waging. Bargaining has been hard this year, and RNs from California to Massachusetts are preparing to strike for patient safety and to maintain their economic standards. We are pleased to share, however, that RNs at Florida Medical Center near Ft. Lauderdale will be joining our movement since they unionized this April! As especially our labor and delivery nurses like to say, "Nurses bring you into this world," and NNU is here to say that we will fight for you while you're in it. Now is the time to act. See you on the picket line. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse™ is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or management trends you've observed, or simply something new you've encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN's perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you're a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rose Ann DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Charles Idelson CONTRIBUTORS Gerard Brogan, RN, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, Jan Rabbers, Donna Smith, David Schildmeier, Ann Kettering Sincox PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes, Lauren Reid

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