American Nursing Association Joins Forces with AFL-CIO
As expected, representatives of the United American Nurses, the "collective bargaining arm" of the American Nursing Association, voted unaminously Thursday to affiliate with the AFL-CIO, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, said the move would create a "strong alliance" that will be able to "cope with array of problems," including rising health care costs, decreasing quality of care and a "critical" national nurses shortage. Sweeney said the "staffing crisis" could be "stopped by giving nurses better working conditions, recognition and respect for their professional expertise and appropriate compensation and benefits." He added that "through their unions" nurses "will help solve this shortage." The AFL-CIO will call a meeting of top nursing-union leaders this fall to "collaborate on a strategy of mutual support and organizing" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/28). Both organizations say the move will give them more clout in shaping health care policy issues such as patients' rights. The merger comes as the ANA faces more challenges from members and outside unions. In March, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the ANA's second-largest state member, split from the group, citing "difference on policy decisions." In 1995, the California Nurses Association left the ANA over similar concerns. In addition, several other unions have tried to organize nurses, most notably the Service Employees International Union, which now represents 110,000 nurses California Healthline, 6/14).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.