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Nurses union a powerful political force

One year ago, the California Nurses Association, Massachusetts Nurses Association and United American Nurses merged to form National Nurses United, a national nurses union. Today, the organization is recognized as a politically powerful force.

In less than a year, the union has led the charge for safe staffing ratios. It has led or threatened strikes in California, Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington D.C, including the largest ever nursing strike, a one-day walkout by 12,000 nurses in Minnesota. The organization also orchestrated and supported demonstrations during the California gubernatorial race. In the process, the group has attracted a lot of attention.

While some nurses remain wary of the union’s aggressive tactics, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, is unapologetic. “If you are meek, these hospitals will roll right over you,” DeMoro recently told the Washington Post.

DeMoro and other union members hope to increase nurses’ clout and influence for the benefit of nurses and patients. The National Nurse United website trumpets its intent to build “the RN Super Union” to advocate for nurses’ rights and safe, quality care.

What do you think of National Nurses United? Do you think their tactics have been helpful or harmful to the profession of nursing?

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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2 Responses to Nurses union a powerful political force

  1. Tonya

    I’m a RN, I definitely agree with low nurse to patient ratios. A strike is the wrong way for pushing the issue. A strike cost the hospitals at least 4 million dollars. Most hospitals have to do layoffs and budget cuts after these strikes are over with.

    • luvdgrey

      @Tonya-I am a RN with a Masters in Science degree. I am a member of NNOC and know Rose Ann DeMoro. You are a poster child for RNs everywhere who whine about patient ratios but do not stick up for the Nursing profession. The hospitals would not pay “at least 4 million dollars” for a strike unless they were going to get a profit from it. The hospitals know that nurses like you are chicken about standing up to them. Do you think the hospital corporations can just pluck nurses off trees to do patient care while other nurses strike? They know and I know they can’t. Wake up and smell the coffee-the hospitals don’t give a darn about you or the patients.