ANA, AFL-CIO to Form ‘Strategic Alliance’
The American Nurses Association's labor arm is expected to vote to join the AFL-CIO later this month, the Wall Street Journal reports. On June 28, nearly 100 delegates from the United American Nurses, the ANA's collective-bargaining group, which represents 100,000 registered nurses nationwide, will vote on an AFL-CIO charter. Nurses "tout" the move as a "strategic alliance" that will "strengthen nurses' organizing and collective-bargaining efforts." Both organizations say the move will give them more clout in shaping health care policy issues such as patients' rights. Under the agreement, the nurses union would gain access to the AFL-CIO's "staff, political connections and research." Susan Bianchi-Sand, director of the United American Nurses, said the merger would provide the ANA with "new resources and experience," adding that the union will "step up" efforts to organize nurses and help state nurses associations establish collective-bargaining units. Although industry officials said it is "too early to gauge the impact of such a merger," Jeff Prescott, spokesperson for the for-profit hospital chain HCA -- The Healthcare Co., said that "the only potential impact ... is if there are more organizing campaigns."
The Journal reports that the unions' 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 (Chen, Wall Street Journal, 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.