National Labor Assembly Report
The annual meeting of the United American Nurses (UAN) National Labor Assembly was held March 21 and 22 in Arlington, Va. NYSNA is the largest constituent member of the UAN, the national union for registered nurses.
Keynote speaker was Dennis Rivera, president of 1199/SEIU Health Care Workers East, affiliated with Change to Win. He spoke of his vision of bringing UAN and SEIU together.
Newly elected Executive Council Members are:
- Jean Ross, Secretary/Treasurer
- Sandra Falwell, Director
- Carolyn Hietimaki, Director
- Tim Davis, Director
The NLA, the UAN governing body, passed nine resolutions, including a resolution establishing guiding principles for the UAN Executive Council in discussing possible partnerships and affiliations with other unions that represent RNs.
The principles are as follows:
- The UAN shall remain an autonomous, Registered Nurse, member-run national labor organization with full control over its governance structure, finances, and membership.
- The UAN shall retain its strong, unified democratic governance structure under which its members, through their elected NLA representatives, determine its direction and policies.
- The UAN shall continue to be the preeminent national union representing Registered Nurses, dedicated to strengthening its Affiliates' labor programs, organizing Registered Nurses into the Affiliates and the UAN, and safeguarding the rights of the UAN's members and Affiliates.
- The UAN, through its NLA governance structure, shall continue to be the decision maker on all national programmatic and policy issues related to nursing and registered nurses.
The resolution further states that the UAN Executive Council must be as transparent as possible during the course of its discussions with other unions, and must communicate regularly with and receive input from the National Labor Cabinet and the Affiliates. Any affiliation agreement would be subject to ratification by the NLA.
The NLA also added language preventing the Executive Council from entering into any agreement “where the UAN become a local of another union, is required to conform its constitution and policies to another union’s constitution, bylaws, or policies and/or have its members become members of the other union; is required to relinquish all properties, funds, assets, both real and personal, in the event of a secession, dissolution, or disaffiliation from another union.”
Other resolutions passed by the NLA:
- Directed the UAN to establish a committee to study the inclusion of retired nurses in the UAN.
- Called for an examination the issue of quantifying the value of adequate nurse staffing in providing cost-saving economic benefits and improvements in patient outcomes.
- Directed the UAN to advocate for hazard preparedness, including affirmation and support for the AFL-CIO petition to revise OSHA standards and the ANA’s call for free, convenient access to voluntary vaccines for healthcare workers and government-funded education for healthcare workers. The UAN is also required under this resolution to draft legislation establishing the rights of healthcare workers relevant to disaster events.
- Urged the American Nurses Credentialing Center to include the involvement of staff nurses and respect for collective bargaining rights as necessary criteria for hospitals to be awarded Magnet Recognition. The NLA also urged ANCC to reject any future Magnet applicants who have demonstrated disregard for staff nurses or their collective bargaining status
- Required the UAN utilize the services of a professional, registered parliamentarian who has no other duties for the UAN and whose sole duty is to advise the Executive Council and NLA delegates with issues of order.
- Endorsed support a single-payer healthcare system, including a directive to the UAN to prioritize and actively participate in the pursuit and development of national legislative initiatives and to play a prominent role in efforts to achieve this goal by expanding its coalition activities, stimulating more consistent nursing involvement across the organization, providing education, organizing nurses around this issue, and ensuring that RNs are in the forefront of the single-payer universal access to healthcare movement in the nation.
- Reaffirmed the UAN's commitment to the maintenance and protection of state Nurse Practice Acts for protection of both the profession and patients, whether they are individuals or the community at large.
- Directed the UAN Executive Committee to establish a UAN Political Action Committee within two months.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.