National Nurses United

Registered Nurse December 2008

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LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS if you think the economic situation looks bad out there right now, brace yourself for worse. Much worse. Chances are, one of your friends, family, neighbors, or kids will lose his or her job in the coming year—if it hasn't happened already. And when that job goes, so does whatever limited healthcare benefits they had. The desperate need for a guaranteed, single-payer healthcare system has never been more apparent. And as the Chicago factory workers at Republic Windows and Doors show, unions are needed more than ever. When these mostly Latino workers, making on average less than $30,000 annually, were laid off in December and denied the two months' severance and vacation pay they were owed under federal law, they organized collectively through their union to stage a week-long sit-in occupation of the factory until they were paid what they deserved. Imagine what would have happened if each of these workers were fighting the company on their own. The AFL-CIO estimates that 60 percent of American workers would join a union tomorrow if they could, but employers are so hostile to organizing drives that many never dare to try. That could all change if Congress passes and President-elect Obama signs the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of federal legislation that would allow workers to unionize by simply showing a majority of signed cards – what's also called card check. As you'll learn through the article about EFCA in this issue, current National Labor Relations Board elections are really a rigged process that gives employers the advantage. Card check would minimize REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, December 2008 Volume 104/10 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 946122908. 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 combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Registered Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 6630629. Registered Nurse™ is carried on the CNA/NNOC website at employer union busting of organizing drives. As one RN at a facility that successfully unionized through card check said, "You turn in your cards and that's your election right there." We need to lobby our lawmakers come 2009 to make EFCA law. And, for the seventh year in a row, the Gallup Poll ranked registered nurses as the most honest and ethical profession. When we add up the economic and healthcare situation, the strength of our union, and our position, power, and relative security as registered nurses, we realize that we have a tremendous duty to advocate for our patients and the public on every level and in every way possible. Don't wait to set New Year's resolutions; get involved now. Too many people are hurting. Check our CNA/NNOC website at or to find out how to plug into a big array of activities, or ask your labor representative or organizer how to help. Deborah Burger, RN | Geri Jenkins, RN Malinda Markowitz, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee also produces California Nurse, which it will ™ continue to publish periodically. 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. Our contact information is in the masthead. executive editor Rose Ann DeMoro editor Lucia Hwang graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs Lauren Reid

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