Nurses Building Power
Founded in 1903, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/AFL-CIO is a premiere organization of registered nurses and one of the nation’s fastest growing labor and professional organizations in the U.S. with more than 100,000 members in hospitals, clinics and home health agencies in all 50 states. In the past 15 years, CNA/NNOC has grown by nearly 400 percent.
CNA/NNOC is also a founding member of the 150,000-member National Nurses United, which in 2009 united CNA/NNOC, the United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association to create the largest union and professional association of nurses in U.S. history. NNU's executive director is Bonnie Castillo, RN and its presidents are Deborah Burger, Cokie Giles, Zenei Cortez, and Malinda Markowitz.
Fighting for Patients
CNA/NNOC has attracted national renown as a leading advocate of guaranteed healthcare by expanding and updating Medicare to cover all Americans, for negotiating many of the best collective bargaining contracts for RNs in the nation, and for sponsorship of innovative legislation and regulatory protections for patients and nurses.
Most notably, CNA/NNOC sponsored the nation’s foremost RN patient safety law, in California, requiring minimum RN-to-patient ratios, the most effective solution in the U.S. for stemming the erosion of care standards in hospitals.
Making a Difference
When California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought to roll back the ratio law in 2004, CNA/NNOC drew the world’s attention by successfully challenging Schwarzenegger, then at the height of his popularity, and forging what became a broad coalition that defeated the governor’s attack on the ratio law and a series of initiatives that targeted working people.
Other landmark laws sponsored by CNA/NNOC in California include whistleblower protections for caregivers who expose unsafe hospital conditions, a ban on inappropriate personnel providing telephone medical advice, and increased funding for nursing education programs.
Those patient protections serve as a model for similar proposals sponsored by NNU and NNOC affiliates nationally, in a bill authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, S 1031, and in many states across the country.
RNs represented by CNA/NNOC have many of the best collective bargaining contracts in the nation. CNA agreements are noted for enhancing the collective voice of RNs in patient care decisions, outlawing dangerous practices such as mandatory overtime, and dramatic improvements in retirement security for RNs and other provisions that are needed to retain career RNs at the hospital bedside and protect patients.
CNA/NNOC has also won landmark contract innovations including limits on the use of new technology that displaces RNs or subverts RN independent judgment, and expanded protections for patients and nurses in containing the spread of pandemics.
CNA/NNOC is also renowned for its advocacy for patients with programs that have helped hundreds of patients with information on how to respond to health care industry abuses, and assisted patients in bringing their stories to legislative hearings and the media.