The 150,000-member-strong National Nurses United was officially launched Dec. 8 at a meeting in Phoenix.
The union, an amalgamation of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association, elected three co-presidents: Karen Higgins, RN; Deborah Burger, RN; and Jean Ross, RN.
Were ecstatic, says Ross. For years we let our differences divide us; now were looking at the things that bring us together.
The union pledges to address the following:
Advance the interests of direct care nurses and patients across the U.S.
Organize all direct care RNs into a single organization capable of exercising influence over the healthcare industry, governments, and employers.
Promote effective collective bargaining representation to all NNU affiliates to promote the economic and professional interests of all direct care RNs.
Expand the voice of direct care RNs and patients in public policy, including the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress and every state.
Win healthcare justice, accessible, quality healthcare for all, as a human right.
One of the groups first priorities is taking part in the healthcare reform debate, Ross says. Were the true voice for the direct-care registered nurse.
NNU is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. The groups Web site is www.nationalnursesunited.org.