National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine March 2015

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NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print /ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, March 2015 Volume 111/2 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 cover- age and commen tary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues in January and Febru- ary, 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 announce- ment, 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 manage- ment 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 RoseAnn 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, Choppy Oshiro we national Nurses United RNs fight so, so hard to pro- tect and improve the health and safety of our patients and our communities, often work- ing to pass laws and standards such as safe RN-to-patient staffing ratios, or bans on environmental health hazards such as natural gas fracking. But what if, even when we're successful, our efforts could be wiped away with one legal challenge by a corporation halfway around the world? This might sound ridiculous but, sadly, this could very well happen under international free trade agreements. Already under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and a number of other free trade pacts, many corporations have sued national governments for public health and safe- ty laws and regulations they have enacted, arguing that these laws unfairly restrict or take their profits. These dis- putes are not decided in the courts of countries where these laws were passed, but instead in international corporate tri- bunals by arbitrators who are often aligned with corporate interests. They're certainly not elected or appointed by, nor accountable to, the citizens of any country! There's a biggie free trade treaty in the works as we speak: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP for short. The TPP involves about 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including the United States, Canada, and Australia. Negoti- ations over the TPP are being carried out in secret and, even worse, the current administration is pushing to "fast track" the agreement through Congress, which means that repre- sentatives won't be able to debate or revise provisions, only vote the whole thing up or down. The TPP would be a disaster for public health, so we NNU RNs are understandably upset. We're asking everyone to contact their Congressional representatives and demand they vote down the TPP. In this issue's feature story, you can find out how and learn more information about the TPP, as well as read examples where corporations have invoked free trade treaties to undermine the ability and right of coun- tries to protect the health and safety of their people. There's reports of lots more goings on in this issue: Mas- sachusetts RNs are fighting hard to restore hospital services to a northern county in their state, HCA RNs nationally are preparing for bargaining, and RNs with the Reclaim Chica- go movement are celebrating a victory in recent city elec- tions by grassroots groups over the corporate-controlled political machine. Spring is here. Can you already feel the winds of change? Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents Letter from the Council of Presidents Stay connected FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: YOUTUBE: DIGITAL MAGAZINE:

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