National Nurses United

Registered Nurse April 2008

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LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS it's been a trying month. We're sorry to report that our very real and legitimate dispute with the Service Employees International Union, SEIU, has turned into an immature, ugly, and disgraceful bullying session on their part. For a full explanation of what's happening, check out the feature article on SEIU in this issue. But the short story is that CNA/NNOC and Andy Stern, president of SEIU, hold two very different, competing visions for the future of labor unions and nursing. CNA/ NNOC believes that our registered nurse members and patients fundamentally have different interests than the healthcare corporations that, under our current system, prioritize profits over patients. As a result, we do not partner or make private deals with them, and instead focus on organizing nurses, patients, and the public to build power for what we want and need. In contrast, SEIU under Stern has shown that it believes teaming up with employers is the only way for its union to survive and thrive. Most recently, in Ohio, SEIU made an arrangement with Catholic Healthcare Partners, which owns nine hospitals, to represent 8,000 workers, but on the employer's terms. The employer petitioned for the election, not the employees. We have a name for this kind of union: a company union. They were supposedly outlawed in 1935, but SEIU is reviving them and making them a cornerstone of its future organizing strategy. CNA/NNOC went to Ohio to educate the workers about this sham election, and CHP ended up calling off the election. As payback, SEIU has now come to California with the intent of taking REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, April 2008 Volume 104/3 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 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 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 over RN representation in the state. If that happens, we can say good-bye to high nursing practice standards, patient advocacy, ratios, single-payer, and good salaries and benefits. But we can assure you that we are only more determined than ever to not only stand our ground, but further expose the ways in which SEIU has sold out its members and transform this threat into an opportunity to grow even stronger. For example, many RNs now in SEIU have approached us, wanting to defect from this brand of company union, and we are helping them. It's not all bad news. We wanted to highlight a couple of victories this past month as well. We made history by unionizing the first-ever private sector hospital in Texas! We'll have more details in the next issue because we wanted to devote some proper coverage to this momentous event. Our University of California RNs also approved a great new contract, and our RNs in Chicago were able after nearly a year of activism to transfer control of the decimated county health system to an independent trusteeship where it'll have a better chance of recovering than under the current political patronage system. Please take some time to read the story about our fight against SEIU to better understand what's at stake. The future of nursing and our ability to fully and freely advocate for our patients depends on it. 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 associate editor Erika Larson graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs, Lauren Reid

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