National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine March 2011

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TOC_Layout 1 3/17/11 9:28 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents "you just had to be there. You just had to be there." That's something Jean and other registered nurses who traveled to Madison, Wis. this February for the massive protests and takeover of the Capitol keep repeating when asked to describe their experiences there. NNU and its affiliates sent hundreds of RNs to Madison to support the popular uprising against Gov. Walker and the Republican Legislature's attempt to decimate public employee unions in the state by stripping them of their collective bargaining rights. Similar legislation has passed or is being proposed in Indiana, Ohio, Maine, and Washington. These union-busting bills are just part and parcel of decades of right-wing policies that have squeezed the working people of America to the point where they just can't be squeezed any more. Ordinary, middle-income Americans are footing a larger share of the national tax burden compared to the super rich and major corporations, have seen their wages stagnate, and are struggling to eat, stay warm, access healthcare, and just keep a roof over their heads. "The people of Wisconsin finally did what I've been saying we need to do for a long time: We need to take to the streets!" said Jean. Jean and other NNU nurse leaders were instrumental in broadcasting a new message in Wisconsin which people eagerly greeted and has been quickly spreading to all 50 states: No cuts. No concessions. Need revenue? Tax the corporations and Wall Street. Make no mistake; the fight in NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, March 2011 Volume 107/2 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 Madison is intimately connected to our fight as registered nurses. Weakening unions means weakening our ability to challenge the hospital industry, protect and promote the health of our patients, control our nursing practice, and earn a decent livelihood. Check out this issue for photos of our RN contingent in Madison and other capitals. This is a critical moment for nurses and all Americans who care about winning some social and economic justice for our patients and our society, and restoring some balance to a grossly inequitable system. We can do it, as we've done through our union, through collective action. In addition to Wisconsin, NNU nurses have been busy this winter. Nurses at the largest hospital in the nation's capital, Washington Hospital Center, went out on a one-day strike in early March. More nurses in Florida have voted to join NNU. California RNs working for the public sector convened to discuss their challenges and how to overcome them. Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida RNs are all organizing to win ratios in their states And finally, don't miss the article in this issue about the Korean Health and Medical Workers Union, a sister union that shares many of the same goals as we do: ratios, rights, and healthcare for all. Their nurses are so overworked and loaded with patients that most only practice for five years before leaving the bedside. Wisconsin has inspired us all. It has reminded us that it doesn't have to be this way. So please get out there in the streets. Like we always say, "If you're not protesting, you're not paying attention." 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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