The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and National Nurses United (NNU) have announced that the New York nurses have voted to affiliate with NNU, the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States. The vote came at NYSNA’s annual convention.
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, CCRN, BSN, said, “Covid-19 has shown that nurses nationwide face the same issues and challenges at work. There is strength in numbers and an NYSNA affiliation with NNU will strengthen our fight to protect nurses, our patients, and our communities. We are thrilled that this affiliation connects us more closely to the national and international labor movement, which is essential to improving the lives of working people.”
NYSNA’s nearly 42,000 members will increase NNU’s membership close to 225,000 nurses, and will also bring NYSNA into the AFL-CIO, of which NNU is already a member union. NYSNA is one of the oldest nursing associations in the country.
“This is a great day for nurses in New York and across the country,” said Jean Ross, RN, and a president of National Nurses United. “NYSNA is already a powerhouse in its own right and has done such an amazing job representing nurses in New York state. We are honored they have voted to join forces with us in building our national movement of nurses to fight for our profession, our patients, and the health of our communities.”
The two organizations are well aligned in their approaches to powerful representation on behalf of nurses and the profession, supporting efforts such as creating strong workplace standards to protect nurses from infectious diseases like Covid-19, establishing federal safe staffing laws, holding employers responsible for preventing workplace violence, and fighting for health care quality. NYSNA First Vice President Dr. Judith Cutchin, RN, DNP, of NYC Health+Hospitals/ Woodhull said, “Nurses throughout the country are rising up and demanding change. NNU is a trailblazing union that has a track record of winning respect for nurses and winning safe staffing ratios in California. Together, we will work to change policies and address important issues that affect nurses and our patients at the city, state, and national levels. “Nurses are stronger when we work collectively,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of National Nurses United. “Our solidarity is what makes it possible to challenge injustice and inequity in our workplaces and in the health of our society. We could not be more proud to now be fighting this fight alongside New York nurses.”
NNU’s other affiliate nursing organizations include the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, District of Columbia Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, and Minnesota Nurses Association, which recently engaged in the largest nurses’ strike in U.S. history.