California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

CNA, NUHW Merge, Seek Better Workplace Standards, Benefits

On Thursday, the California Nurses Association announced that it has formally joined with the National Union of Healthcare Workers to form the NUHW-CNA, the Wall Street Journal reports (Maher, Wall Street Journal, 1/3).

Details of the Affiliation

The 85,000-member CNA and the 10,000-member NUHW tentatively agreed to the affiliation on Nov. 30, 2012.

The agreement does not provide the unions any rights to each other's funds. In addition, both unions retain "their own autonomy with respect to their elections, conventions and wage negotiations," according to CNA (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/3).

Goals of Affiliation

CNA and NUHW said the affiliation will help them seek better workplace standards to improve patient care and prevent hospital chains from reducing employee benefits (Wall Street Journal, 1/3).

In a statement, Deborah Burger -- CNA co-president -- said the unions "intend to send an unmistakable message to a callous hospital industry that nurses will not stand silent in the face of a ruthless drive by hospital employers or their collaborators to uproot decades of progress" (San Francisco Business Times, 1/3).

Sal Rosselli -- president of NUHW -- said that the affiliation "increases our power and experience exponentially" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/4).

Implications for SEIU

According to the Journal, the affiliation intensifies a rivalry between the unions and the 2 million-member Service Employees International Union.

NUHW-CNA is expected to campaign against SEIU for the membership of 43,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente (Wall Street Journal, 1/3).

Rosselli said, "We will now have the resources to compete with the SEIU's millions and millions of dollars."

Steve Trossman -- SEIU spokesperson -- said that the unions are "pursuing a losing strategy," adding, "We are not in a position where we can waste precious resources on internal fights instead of using those resources to organize workers who are not already in unions" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/4). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.