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Nurses unionize to improve patient care

America's nurses are on the march — literally and figuratively. Consider just two recent developments: In Minnesota, 12,000 nurses from 14 hospitals walked off the job for a day last month, the largest such action in U.S. history, in a bid to improve staffing levels and to secure standardized nurse-patient ratios. In Texas, almost 2,000 nurses at five hospitals voted to form unions in a two-week period ending in June. This was particularly notable because Texas has the third largest number of RNs in the country — after California and New York — but previously only one private hospital in Texas was organized. —Washington Times, 07/12/10 More »

Union chief makes nurses a political force

Rose Ann DeMoro, a former supermarket cashier from the suburbs of St. Louis who has risen to become one of America’s most powerful labor leaders, recalls that her tough but saintly mother had two maxims. One: “Keep reaching.” Two: “If someone hits you, and you don’t hit ’em back, you’re going to get it when you get home.” DeMoro, executive director of the 86,000 member California Nurses Association and the 155,000-member National Nurses United, says she has faithfully lived by the first — and never had to worry much about the second. —San Francisco Chronicle, 07/11/10 More »

Combative nurses’ union takes on Meg Whitman

The California Nurses Association has taken on powerful people before, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators from both major parties, and has scored resounding wins. In each showdown, the 86,000-person union made full use of its key advantage – the appeal of its members' professions – while pressing hard for policies that benefited nurses. —Sacramento Bee, 07/04/10 More »

Whitman goes toe-to-toe with nurses union

The nurses group wants Brown as the next governor, but Whitman is reaching out directly to individual nurses. Meg Whitman is trying her hand at a manner of union busting – and her degree of success will help determine whether she's elected governor in November. —Orange County Register, 07/02/10 More »

Meg Whitman Spins and Spends: Mrs. Harsh Faces A Harsh Reality

With campaigning disappearing and becoming irrelevant as we head into the 4th of July weekend, something remarkable has taken place in the race to replace term-limited Arnold Schwarzenegger as California's governor. We're now essentially one-fifth of the way through the general election. Billionaire Republican wannabe governor Meg Whitman has spent a record-shattering $100 million. Jerry Brown has spent virtually nothing. Yet Whitman's campaign has failed to change anything in the overall dynamic of the race. —Huffington Post, 07/01/10 More »

Single Payer, Universal Health Care Bill Passes Key Assembly Committee

The Assembly Health Committee today approved the California Universal Health Care Act, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). The bill guarantees all Californians comprehensive, universal health care while containing ballooning health care costs and improving the quality of care and delivery of health services statewide. —California Chronicle, 06/30/10 More »

Medicare changes could shortchange vulnerable hospitals

The findings, researchers say, raise the possibility that the so-called "pay-for-performance" initiative could inadvertently worsen existing healthcare disparities. Pay-for-performance reimbursement plans essentially reward hospitals and doctors for meeting certain treatment goals established in medical guidelines. For example, guidelines state that heart attack patients should be given aspirin and drugs called beta-blockers when they are admitted to and discharged from the hospital; centers that better meet that goal would get greater reimbursements. —Reuters, 06/29/10 More »

Nurses union begins ads attacking Whitman

The California Nurses Association said the incident shows how disconnected the GOP gubernatorial nominee is from working people. At a news conference outside its Oakland headquarters that was attended by 150 nurses in red scrubs, the union unveiled a new ad campaign - "Nurses Won't Be Pushed Around" - and released posters showing a heavily jeweled hand adorned with rings that was meant to represent the billionaire candidate. —San Francisco Chronicle, 06/25/10 More »

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Remember back in December 2004 when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told nurses protesting staffing cuts that they were “special interests,” who “don’t like me in Sacramento because I kick their butt?” The California Nurses Association (CNA) then sued the Governor, and helped defeat all of his ballot measures in the November 2005 special election. —Beyond Chron, 06/24/10 More »

Whitman dismisses uproar about alleged shoving incident with EBay employee

In a radio interview, the Republican said the altercation was a verbal dispute and characterizes the media interest in the story as the 'fascination of the chattering class. After a week of silence, Meg Whitman has spoken out about a report that she shoved a subordinate when she was chief executive of EBay, characterizing the altercation as a verbal dispute and dismissing the uproar about it as "a fascination of the chattering class." —Los Angeles TImes, 06/23/10 More »

Nurses, Tenet have tentative deal on 3-year pact

Registered nurses at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center and Tenet Healthcare Corp. reached their first tentative agreement for a new three-year contract. The National Nurses Organizing Committee-Texas, the organizing arm of National Nurses United, represents about 300 registered nurses at the hospital. —Houston Chronicle, 06/22/10 More »

Nurses provide prescription for union revival

The last 35 years have been disastrous for American unions. The percentage of the workforce represented by unions has declined from about 30% to barely 10%. As the unionized island in the center of the workforce has shrunk, every element of labor relations affected by unions - job security, promotions and lay-off, job descriptions, wages and benefits (pensions, vacations, health care, etc.), grievance procedures, attention to safety - has slid away from workers. There has been a similar deterioration in union influence in electoral politics and public debate about key issues. —Twin Cities Daily Planet, 06/21/10 More »

Valley Regional RNs vote to unionize

Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville was the latest domino to fall in a drive by the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Texas to unionize registered nurses at Hospital Corporation of America-owned facilities in a handful of Texas cities. —Brownsville Herald, 06/20/10 More »

California Health Department Failing to Address Unsafe Care Problems Raised by Nurses

It’s been six months after Registered Nurses and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health regarding sweeping and pervasive patient care problems at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. —California Progress Report, 06/17/10 More »

Minnesota Nurses’ Association Provides Rx for Union Revival

The last thirty-five years have been disastrous for American unions. The percentage of the workforce represented by unions has declined from about 30% to barely 10%. As the unionized island in the center of the workforce has shrunk, every element of labor relations affected by unions – job security, promotions and lay-off, job descriptions, wages and benefits (pensions, vacations, health care, etc.), grievance procedures, attention to safety – has slid away from workers. There has been a similar deterioration in union influence in electoral politics and public debate about key issues. —MR Zine, 06/13/10 More »

Twin Cities nurses strike stays calm, but pressure on

Drenched by morning storms, nurses across the Twin Cities were putting down their picket signs and getting ready to head back to work -- although they didn't know whether they'd be allowed to return. "We will go in en masse," said Glenda Cartney, who was with dozens of other nurses striking outside United Hospital in St. Paul at 6 a.m. Friday. —Star Tribune, 06/11/10 More »

UCD Medical Center nurses protest staffing

Dozens of nurses walked picket lines outside the UC Davis Medical Center on Thursday, joining scores of other registered nurses across the state to protest what they decry as chronic violations of the state law requiring minimum staffing levels. University officials, however, insist they are in full compliance with the minimum nurse-to-patient ratios mandated by the 1999 state law at the core of the dispute. —Sacramento Bee, 06/11/10 More »

Thousands of Minnesota nurses strike Twin Cities hospitals

Donning bright red, union T-shirts and waving “We care for you” signs, 12,000 Minnesota nurses walked off the job Thursday. Unable to reach a contract with six metro hospital chains, the Minnesota Nurses Association launched a 24-hour strike, the largest in the history of the United States. —Med City News, 06/10/10 More »

Nurses go on offensive against 14 Twin Cities hospitals

With two days to go before a planned strike, the Minnesota Nurses Association is going public with stories of alleged poor patient care to back its assertion that Twin Cities hospitals are dangerously understaffed. The union, which says hospital staffing is at the core of its dispute with management, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to tell some of those stories. —Star Tribune, 06/08/10 More »

Political street theater comes to town

Santa Barbara received a special visit from Queen Meg on Friday, a comedic performance of a royal pain who claims to be running to be the next governor of California. The farcical impersonation of candidate Meg Whitman was sponsored by the California Nurses Association, who created the guerilla theater at Shoreline Park to illustrate what they claim are Ms. Whitman's unscrupulous defense of business and her attacks on the environment. —Santa Barbara News-Press, 06/05/10 More »

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