According to a press release issued by the California Nurses Association, registered nurses (RNs) rallied yesterday to demand that Senator Dianne Feinstein become cosponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act. The demonstration was organized through the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) national convention.
Participating RNs made a house call to Feinstein to voice their opinions. The nurses left roses at Senator Feinstein's San Francisco residence with notes attached detailing their personal experiences struggling to win recognition for their union. Stories touched on intimidation and harassment by management and the cost of union-busting on patient care.
The group that rallied this Wednesday called our current labor law system ?broken,? claiming that it ?prevents RNs from exercising their right to unionize.?
Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of CNA/NNOC issued a statement to nurses interested in the protest:
?In the past, Senator Feinstein has said she supported the bill, but appears to be wavering. 1,200 RNs are making this house call to let her know that employers are trying to silence us when we advocate in facilities, and that patients end up paying the price for this union-busting. Employers are breaking the law in their harassment of nurses, and we deserve a free choice and a fair chance to speak up for ourselves.?
Burger continued, ?Studies have shown that unionized nurses save lives, reduce turnover, and increase caregiver morale in facilities. That would be good for any hospital?and every patient.?
The goal of the rally was for 1,200 nurses to leave notes and statements at Feinstein's residence before rallying outside the senator's office. Other highlights of the convention included a presentation by Don DeMoro, director of CNA/NNOC's research arm, the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy as well as speeches from nurse leaders from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Discussions included the benefits of national healthcare systems and a lecture titled ?The Economics of Caring? which reported that 22 percent of all claims are denied by California insurance companies.