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U.S. Nurses to Join RNs From Across Globe at G-20 Summit to Press for Financial Transaction Tax

Press Release Press Release, 10/13/11

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Media Advisory
October 12, 2011

Washington Protest Also Set Nov. 3 as Part of Global Action

When world leaders gather for the G20 summit in France early next month to discuss the worsening global economic crisis, they will get some extra advice from nurses around the world, thanks to an international effort initiated by National Nurses United (NNU) and the global union federation Public Services International (PSI).

Leaders of NNU, the largest U.S. union and professional association of registered nurses, will join nurses from around the world to press for a tax on global financial institutions to help pay to revive the economic health of the U.S. and other countries.

TAX WALL STREET SIGNS

In the U.S., NNU will also mark the international day of action with a big protest in Washington, D.C. where RNs, joined by other labor and community activists, will rally across from the White House and lobby Congress to also make the case for a tax on Wall Street financial transactions.

Over the past several months, the NNU has taken the lead in a national campaign to Make Wall Street Pay, including sponsoring actions to escalate the call for a tax on Wall Street financial transactions to help fund jobs, healthcare, retirement plans, housing, and other social needs.

The Washington actions will begin November 3 with a rally at Lafayette Square at 11:30 a.m.

Earlier that day in France, NNU and other PSI members will join with the International Trade Union Confederation and other allies, including Oxfam, in a colorful action at the G-20 Summit in Cannes where nurses will take symbolic emergency measures and inject an FTT to resuscitate the ailing global economy. NNU is affiliated with PSI, which represents 20 million public service workers in 150 countries.

Global union leaders will deliver the "prescription" of a financial transactions tax directly to the current chair of the G20, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and other heads of state.

“We are proud to be working with nurses unions from around the world to address the ongoing global economic crisis that was largely caused by the financial misdeeds of global banks and other financial institutions,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

Noting that at home, “America has the wealth to end the despair and deprivation,” DeMoro said, “America’s nurses have been in the forefront of this effort because nurses take care of the 100 percent while Wall Street just takes care of the 1 percent, who in turn only care for themselves. It’s time for Wall Street to pay to undo the damage and immeasurable suffering it has caused.”

“Nurses around the world see a common crisis affecting our patients, our communities, our nations, and our own families that derive from the devastation caused by out-of-control banks that have ruined economies,” said NNU Co-president Deborah Burger, RN who will attend the Cannes actions. “Nurses are used to solving problems and we are ready to act together to insist on a change in priorities because we have seen enough, and want to stop the bleeding now.”

The European Commission has proposed a bloc-wide financial transactions tax on bond and stock trades to raise billions of euros a year. A global FTT would be most effective. It could fund basic healthcare for mothers and children, saving millions of lives. It could help address poverty, fund sustainable jobs and environmental policies, and strengthen quality public services, the basis of inclusive and caring societies.

“That nurses are courageously taking their demand for a financial transactions tax to the G20 draws attention to the important role of healthcare workers in speaking out about the economic issues that affect both quality of care and working conditions,” says PSI General Secretary Peter Waldorff.

For NNU this will be the second large protest in Washington this year, following an action in early June that included a picket of the U.S. headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, the lobbying arm of Wall Street which has consistently pressured Congress to block needed reforms.

More than 1,000 nurses, joined by labor and community activists, including some of the originators of the Occupy Wall Street movement, also marched on the New York Stock Exchange in late June, coinciding with earlier international protests for the FTT.

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