What Do Nurses and Teachers Have in Common?
Apparently most union nurses prefer to belong to a union which represents only nurses. And, apparently, nurses’ union officials agree.
If you are a teacher who wants to be represented by an ASSOCIATION that represents only teachers, try an independent professional teachers’ association. We have both national and state organizations to fit the bill. None of them represents anyone other than education professionals, and none of them forced dues or membership on any teacher.
Representing nurses must be a lucrative undertaking if all these unions are circling around nurses. Mike Antonucci unravels the tangled web that Big Labor has weaved around nurses in Intercepts.
The world of teachers’ unions is a relatively simple one.
The environment for nurses’ unions is much more complex. There are several national and regional coalition groups, state federations with differing alignments, and shifting alliances.
Today AFT announced it had entered into an affiliation agreement with the National Federation of Nurses, a coalition of state nurses’ unions described as “active in Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington state.” NFN claims to represent 34,000 nurses.
“We’re really excited,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten. “This partnership runs counter to all those stories about labor’s demise. [This] broadens the platform from which we do our organizing, and from which we have a voice.”
Of course, the labor movement’s problems can’t be solved by affiliating workers who are already unionized. While this affiliation certainly strengthens AFT, it adds more fuel to the fire that surrounds nurses’ unions, who reportedly represent only about 15 percent of the nation’s nurses.
Without losing you along the byzantine turns created by raids, mergers and the formation of new coalitions, what is clear is that NYSNA very publicly disaffiliated from NFN last year, citing interference in internal matters. The current relationship between New Jersey and NFN is unknown, but there is no mention of NFN affiliation on the NJSNA web site.
Finally, there is the tension with the largest national nurses’ union, National Nurses United, which claims 185,000 members.
“We believe that nurses and patients are better served when nurses are in a union that understands nurses and just serves nurses,” said Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United.