On Monday, August 6, in what is believed to be the single biggest defeat of the CNA/NNOC, more than 450 Mt. Sinai Hospital, Chicago registered nurses voted in an NLRB election to reject union representation. By a vote of 152 YES to 293 NO with 11 challenges, Mt. Sinai Hospital nurses overwhelmingly declared their intention to continue to remain non union, and not turn over their rights to a third-party California union. Two years ago, CNA/NNOC took away representation rights for 1,800 RNs from the Illinois Nurses Association at the Stroger Hospitals in Chicago.
Prior to the Mt. Sinai election, several Stroger nurses represented by CNA/NNOC spoke of their continued dissatisfaction with the California union, including the poor contract it negotiated.
What is clear, however is that CNA/NNOC is not going away. In fact, CNA/NNOC has several active campaigns throughout the country.
CNA/NNOC has carved out its platform as the nation’s leading advocate for universal healthcare reform. It has adopted Michael Moore’s movie SICKO as its own, calling for a single-payer health care system with coverage for all. CNA/NNOC has fought for mandated RN-to-patient ratios, elimination of mandatory overtime, and whistleblower protections for nurses and caregivers who expose unsafe patient conditions.
CNA/NNOC plans to continue to seek representation of nurses throughout the Midwest, and have active campaigns in several states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Texas. Other unions, including SEIU, AFSCME and state nurses associations will not cede representational rights for RNs to CNA/NNOC. The UAN, the collective bargaining arm for state nurses associations affi liated with the American Nurses Association, is meeting with SEIU to consider affi liation of its 110,000 RNs under contract with SEIU’s new national healthcare union that represents almost 900,000 health care workers.
What is clear is that the landscape for nurses organizing is becoming more active, with more players. With Congress squarely behind the card check legislation- Employee Free Choice Act, and next year’s presidential and congressional elections, health care organizing will only increase.