Nurses Don’t Need Candy and Platitudes for Nurses Week; We Need Workplace Protections and Respect

Nurses at UC Sympathy Strike

Happy nurses week! It’s the time of year when our employers honor us for the hard work we do every day, healing and saving lives. While we hear the words of gratitude that come our way this time of year, we also know what would REALLY make nurses feel appreciated by our employers: workplace protections, dignity, and respect.

To that end, NNU’s mighty nurses marked the week by standing up, loud and proud, for a healthier workplace and a healthier world. Check out how we celebrated, nurse-power style:

Standing Up for Federal Workplace Violence Protections

Healthcare workers are subject to extremely high rates of workplace violence, and nurses are taking a stand! In March of this year, U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna introduced the Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention Act (H.R. 5223), federal legislation modeled after California’s nation-leading Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Standard, mandating that employers have a comprehensive violence prevention plan in place to protect workers.

On Monday, May 7, NNU nurses and policy experts held a Facebook live session to explain the bill—and how nurses can fight for it. On that note, please sign the petition urging your legislators to support H.R. 5223!

Taking Over Capitol Hill for Ratios, Other Critical Protections

Nurses at DC lobby day

On Tuesday, May 8, 150 nurses from 20 states converged in Washington, D.C. to advocate for nurses and patient protections. We pressed legislators to support federal safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, Medicare for All, and the aforementioned Workplace Violence Protection Act. Nurses never stop fighting for our patients, and we will never stop fighting to heal America!

Standing in Solidarity With Our Fellow Healthcare Workers

On Tuesday, May 8 and Wednesday, May 9, University of California registered nurses walked pickets lines in a historic sympathy strike with union coworkers at the University’s five major medical centers and 10 student health centers. The sympathy strike was called in solidarity with members of AFSCME Local 3299, who are striking for safe, just working conditions and a fair contract from UC administration.

Nurses work side by side in the units with these workers, and we know that we can’t deliver quality patient care without them. So to let the UC system know that they need to take care of their workers, so that we can take care of our patients, we stood side by side with them in their fight for justice, and economic, retirement and job security. When you take on one of us, you take on all of us!

Fighting for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Act

On Wednesday, May 9, NNU nurses gathered in Washington, D.C. to support the collective voice, power and protection that unions provide. They were in the capitol speaking out on the importance of passing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' Workplace Democracy Act—critical legislation that would protect workers from being fired for union organizing. Here’s a video of NNU co-president Jean Ross talking about how patient safety comes from union strength.

These are just a few of the ways NNU nurses marked Nurses Week 2018—because free bagels are nice, but not as nice as mandatory, federal workplace violence protections!