NUHW-CNA: An Affiliation Whose Time has Come
Just four years have passed since we founded NUHW, following SEIU’s disastrous takeover of our union. In that short time, we have grown into a powerful organization of 10,000 members, spanning every job classification in the hospital and nursing home sectors. We are now the fastest growing healthcare workers’ union in the country.
Today, we are proud to announce, we became even stronger. Last night, ballots were counted for approval of our Affiliation Agreement with the California Nurses Association. By 96.6%, NUHW members voted to take this enormous step forward for our union.
NUHW’s new affiliation with the 85,000 registered nurses in the CNA means that we are joining together with a union that shares our commitment to uniting workers against those hospital corporations that threaten our livelihoods and the safety of our patients instead of partnering with them. CNA has the best contracts in the country for registered nurses, and as our members at Kaiser saw on the picket line, side-by-side with CNA RNs, CNA is a union that isn’t afraid to fight. Just as important, CNA has been a national leader in mandating nurse-to-patient ratios to keep patients safe, and in organizing RNs into a fighting force for patient care. This is an organization NUHW members are proud to be a part of.
This is an affiliation whose time has come. Employer attacks are on the rise, nowhere more so than at Kaiser Permanente. With their RN co-workers in the CNA, NUHW members at Kaiser have already engaged in repeated statewide strikes to stand their ground against threatened reductions to wages, benefits and job protections that other unions at Kaiser have already agreed to in spite of four years of record profits for Kaiser.
Because of this unity, Kaiser NUHW members have not been forced to accept a single contract concession, and no NUHW member has had their position slated for elimination even while Kaiser management has forced layoffs on 1,000 workers throughout the state.
Now, 43,000 service and technical workers at Kaiser’s 32 California hospitals are currently organizing to join their co-workers in NUHW in an election expected in the early part of this year.
With this new affiliation, NUHW members at Kaiser will have an infusion of new resources to win a fair contract with no reductions to their wages, benefits and job protections, and Kaiser workers organizing to join NUHW will have both new resources and an expanded team of skilled staff organizers who are experts in healthcare issues to help them win their election.
This is a historic moment for patients and for union members. NUHW-CNA is a union composed entirely of healthcare workers, from registered nurses to environmental services workers, from nursing home orderlies to admitting clerks. We will work together as a team to achieve our contract goals just as we work together as a team to provide the best patient care. And as part of NUHW-CNA, NUHW members will also join the 13 million workers who belong to the AFL-CIO. Together, we will help revitalize the American labor movement.
Sal Rosselli, President
John Borsos, Secretary-Treasurer
National Union of Healthcare Workers